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WCO contribution to the implementation of the AfCFTA highlighted at the UNIDO-AUC International Forum on Quality Infrastructure

15 abril 2019

Coinciding with the 22nd ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in cooperation with the African Union Commission (AUC), held the first ever International Quality Infrastructure (QI) Forum on 4 April 2019.  The forum focused on the contribution of QI to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to the successful implementation of the AfCFTA.  The Forum highlighted the importance of cooperation between the different actors as well as the role that the private sector can play in the achievement of the SDGs through the adoption of sustainability standards.

Mr. Badr Mouhcine, Programme Manager of the EU-WCO Programme for Harmonized System (HS) in Africa, at the World Customs Organization (WCO) was panelist on Session 1 “How to steer African regional quality infrastructure development towards the SDGs within the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)”.  The panel discussed key challenges of the AfCFTA Agreement, such as the conformity assessment recognition, food safety and trade facilitation, as well as the role of a sound regional quality infrastructure as a contribution factor to the growth of intra-African trade.

Mr. Mouhcine highlighted the role that the HS plays in trade facilitation and the contribution that the EU-WCO Programme on the HS would bring to an effective implementation of the AfCFTA.  He underlined the state of play and challenges of a uniform and timely application of the HS in Africa and how the Programme would concretely support African countries, Regional Economic Communities, the African Union and the private sector in building the required resources and capacities to apply future HS versions in a timely and coordinated manner.  He also stressed the key role that the WCO is playing in creating a continent-wide environment for trade facilitation which is reflected in the strategic plan of the WCO but also in the activities, programmes and partnerships engaged by the WCO Capacity Building Directorate and the WCO Secretariat as a whole.

More information about the Forum can be found at this link: