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WCO/Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Joint Project

In January 2015, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC), which was followed by the launch of the "WCO/JICA Joint Project” whose main objective at that time was to enhance their support for Customs administrations in 5 countries in East Africa. Thanks to the tangible success in East Africa, the Joint Project expanded its cooperation to mainly 16 countries in East, Southern, and West Africa in 2018, leading to further extending its cooperation to 6 countries in the Pacific in July 2021 and new programmes for the 16 beneficiary countries in Africa. The flagship programme of the WCO/JICA Joint Project is the Master Trainer Programme (MTP), which aims to cooperate with Customs administrations to establish more sustainable training capacity on key Customs topics through the development of a pool of well-experienced trainers, tailor-made training materials, and training program/course syllabus.

To this end, the MTP trains the same participants through 5 working-group and intersectional activities for 2-3 years. Under this programme, a pool of approximately 150 Master Trainers (MTs) on HS Classification, Customs Valuation, Post Clearance Audit and Risk Management/Intelligence Analysis has been developed in 16 East, West, and Southern African countries. So far, these MTs have delivered training for more than 49,000 people from Customs administrations, other government agencies and the private sector in their countries and in other countries in 2018-2023. It is worth noting that some of these MTs are also accredited as WCO Accredited Experts (ACE) and are supporting other countries, particularly in Africa, with their accumulated expertise and knowledge. Hence, MTs are a common asset for participating Customs administrations, their regions, and the entire Customs community.

With these activities and wide recognition of the MTP among WCO Members, the MTP on Rules of Origin started in July 2021 in 16 African WCO Members in East, West, and Southern Africa, namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo to smoothly and effectively implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Then, in August 2022, five more WCO Members, namely Ethiopia, Cameroun, Madagascar, Senegal and South Africa, joined the MTP on Rules of Origin. In addition, the MTP is expanded to cover 6 Pacific Islands WCO Members, namely Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Timor-Leste, Tonga, and Vanuatu, in the field of HS classification and Customs Valuation in July 2021, which also contributes to implementing the WCO Small Island Economies (SIEs) initiative. The programme in the Pacific Islands programme was concluded in February 2024 with 21 successful Master Trainers on HS and CV.

The ToR of the WCO/JICA Joint Project team, established in the WCO, consists of the implementation of MTP, the implementation of other activities, and support for JICA projects, showing the vast range of cooperation of the project team.

Possible expansion of the MTP and other project activities not only in Africa and the Pacific Islands but also in other WCO regions is under preparation to respond to the needs of WCO Members and support WCO initiatives in these regions.

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