AfCFTA: Customs, a necessity for implementation – WOC

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Hammed Ali, Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service

It is necessary for customs administrations in Africa to be at the forefront of the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement with regard to trade facilitation, consumer protection and border security just as the Secretary General of World Customs Organisation, Kunio Mikuriya, welcomed the entry into force of the AfCFTA.

The WCO boss described AfCFTA as a beacon of progress and economic empowerment for Africa and however reaffirmed the WCO’s commitment to supporting African customs administrations through its existing initiatives such as the EU-WCO Harmonized System Programme for Africa, the Mercator Programme and the Security Programme toward achieving this.

Dr. Kunio Mikuriya stated this in his address at the 11th Ordinary Meeting of the AU Sub-Committee of Directors General of Customs (AUSCDGC) held recently in Kampala, Uganda.

Mikuriya, who shared perspectives on the key areas of the WCO’s work which would directly serve to support AfCFTA implementation, noted that the WCO’s African members had been working diligently to implement WCO instruments and tools, and would benefit from deeper cooperation between the WCO and the AUC.

At the invitation of the African Union (AU) and Mr. Dicksons Kateshumbwa, Commissioner of Customs in the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and WCO Council Chair, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya attended the 11th Ordinary Meeting of the AU Sub-Committee of Directors General of Customs (AUSCDGC), held in Kampala, Uganda on 19 and 20 September 2019.

After a brief address welcoming the Directors General and highlighting the key role their Customs administrations will play in implementation of the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Commissioner Dicksons Kateshumbwa invited

Addressing the AU meeting, the Commissioner General of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Mrs. Dorothy Akol underscored the impact that the entry into force of the AfCFTA would have in shaping the future of the African continent, saying the implementation of this powerful tool would boost intra-African trade and economic development, unleashing the potential of an integrated continent.

Ambassador Albert Muchanga, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, restated that the theme for the year was a timely, relevant and critical one with respect to the role of Customs, acknowledging the WCO’s dedication to supporting African Customs administrations and expressed the desire for continued fruitful cooperation.

He reminded the Customs Directors General that 1 July 2020 was the date set for implementation of the AfCFTA and expressed the view that a single continental market would serve as a precursor for investment and industrialization. He continued by advocating for strong commitment to completing the remaining preparatory work, in order to pave the way for AfCFTA implementation.

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