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WCO ESA Regional Workshop on Building a Single Window Environment held in Lusaka, 27-31 May 2019

05 junio 2019

World Customs Organization (WCO) East & Southern Africa (ESA) Regional Workshop on Business Process Analyses Re-Engineering and Legal Gap Analyses for Building Single Window Environment was organized in Lusaka, Zambia from 27th to 31st May 2019, with the financial support of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. WCO Members from the ESA Region, who have recently expressed interest to have support in the above-mentioned area, were invited to participate in the practical exercise organized with the support of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA). The ZRA, General Commissioner, in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Commissioner for Customs Operations, addressed the participants with a welcoming message and urged the Workshop participants to take this opportunity to identify common challenges and share best practices, in order to enable a more harmonized approach in the region for the implementation and interoperability of Single Window solutions.

The WCO ESA region has 22 Members, many of which have a long-standing experience of establishing One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs). At least one-third of ESA Members are at various stages of Single Window implementation, while others started feasibility studies on implementing a Single Window environment.

The Workshop was aimed at building expertize, first of all, on mapping the processes, then making analysis with the perspective of looking at areas of improvement and finally at streamlining. Groups of experts from ESA Members worked with Customs and authorities present at the Churundu OSBP, where they mapped the processes, regulatory requirements for those processes, as well as all supporting documents needed for a specific cross border transaction.

The outcomes of the exercises were appreciated by the participants, as well as by the ZRA Single Window team, which has played an invaluable role for the overall feasibility of the study, and has added value to ZRA with an on-going initiative to map all cross border business processes in Zambia.

Relevant international standards, WCO instruments and tools, such as the WCO Data Model and Revised Kyoto Convention, were highlighted with regards to the semantic interoperability and co-orchestration of business processes in the interfaced and hybrid Single Window models, as well as the importance of harmonized implementation of TFA to ensure interactions of those processes at regional level. The Workshop participants have also discussed the possible impact of new technologies, such as Blockchain, in the Single Window environment.

The Workshop was delivered by the WCO Secretariat staff and a freshly WCO accredited expert on Single Window environment from the Zambian Customs Administration. The 26 delegates who participated in the workshop were from Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, the Union of Comoros and the host country, Zambia.

The Workshop was closed by the Commissioner for Customs Services Mr. Sydney Chibbabbuka and in his closing remarks, he stressed the significance of this kind of practical exercises conducted in cooperation with ESA Members and neighbouring countries to enhance the smooth movement of intra-regional trade in Africa.