The Road to Easier Cross-Border Trading
The WCO East and Southern Africa (ESA) Region consists of 24 Member Countries; Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The body representing this region is the ESA-RPSG.
The ESA-RPSG was formed for the purpose of verifying the implementation and monitoring with the provision of various instruments in the WCO Instruments and Tools that will make trade easier without comprising or imposing a higher risk profile. The ESA-RPSG structure also allows the private sector to articulate their challenges in the regional integration journey with possible solutions for addressing the known obstacles. These obstacles need to be addressed effectively for ensuring the creation of a safe, fair and compliant environment for all.
It is important to the region to enable a structured trusted trader programme to achieve improved compliance. The uptake of Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) within the region has been slow and there is a need for these programs to expand. The benefits of AEO, especially for (Small and medium enterprises) SMEs need to be articulated and link with SAFE to encourage more participants. In addition, the Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) need to be communicated and monitored in order to realize their impact.
The inclusion of businesses in the wider range of trade compliance activities will improve the relationship between them and Customs resulting in a solid building block for compliant traders in risk mitigation and economic growth facilitation.
The standards and guidelines contained in the RKC and the WCO SAFE, the application of Customs risk management can continue to be a critical element that underpins all modern Customs administrations and act as an enabler of increasing global trade for the participating countries in the light of the focus on risk management and the ease of doing business.