The EU-WCO Origin Africa Programme sets the baseline for support and cooperation with SADC

09 十二月 2022

The World Customs Organization (WCO), in partnership with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), held a regional consultation in Gaborone, Botswana, from 21 to 25 November 2022 under the framework of the EU-WCO Origin Africa Programme funded by the European Union (EU).

The objective of this consultation was to dress the state of play on the application of rules of origin (RoO) in the region and explore avenues of cooperation between the WCO and SADC, as well as define the support activities to SADC and its members under the EU-WCO Origin Africa Programme; The consultation was followed by a technical workshop conducted by WCO experts to support the alignment of rules of origin to HS 2022.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Jeanette C. Makgolo, Commissioner General of Botswana Unified Revenue Service, addressed the consultation meeting, stating that RoO are a crucial part of the known three pillars of Customs and international trade (the others being Valuation and Classification). She further commended the SADC Secretariat for taking a step towards updating the SADC Appendix on RoO which will ensure consistency in the application of RoO within the structure of the HS, and thanked the WCO and the EU for the continuous collaboration and support. Ms. Delphine Aupicon representing the EU Delegation in Botswana, presented the EU-WCO Origin Africa Programme's objectives and confirmed the European Union's commitment to supporting programmes in SADC and Africa at large.

During the consultation, the SADC Secretariat presented their Trade Facilitation Programme and its role in promoting intra and extra SADC Trade, the SADC objectives of the Free Trade Area and the SADC Industrialization Strategy, including the state of play on RoO within the SADC region. The meeting discussions built upon the presentation from the SADC Secretariat and concluded with a matrix of action plan which covers activities to be undertaken at the regional and national level under the EU-WCO Origin Africa Programme, including recommendations for capacity-building and awareness-raising activities on RoO for government officials and the private sector.

In closing, the SADC Secretariat thanked the World Customs Organization for their technical support and the European Union for their commitment to support the SADC Region in various sectors through the implementation of various programmes.

This consultation is the second regional one after the ECOWAS meeting that took place on October 2022. The EU-WCO Origin Africa Programme will conduct further consultations with other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to provide meaningful and targeted capacity building and technical assistance in implementing the AfCFTA Agreement, EPAs, and other FTAs as well as exploring other opportunities for streamlining processes in Africa.

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