To create an official platform in order to inform and advise regional Customs administrations, members, stakeholders in trade, and society on customs and trade related matters from the perspective of the private sector in the East and Southern African Region. The RPSG aims to achieve this mission through collaborative efforts between private sector stakeholders and customs administrations, as well as the utilization of modern-day technology.
To develop an efficient, equitable, safe, secure and transparent cross-border trading environment for all parties involved in the East African region.
Terms of Reference
for the Regional Private Sector Group of The East and Southern Africa Region (RPSG-ESA)
The TOR was adopted by the 24th Governing Council held in Gaborone, Botswana, on 24/05/2019
The Regional Private Sector Group of the World Customs Organization East and Southern Africa Region (hereinafter referred to as the “RPSG-ESA”) has been formed to report to and advise the WCO Regional Heads of Customs Administrations (Governing Council in ESA -Region); the Regional Vice-Chair – and in collaboration with the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ESA ROCB) – on Customs and International Trade, matters from the perspective of the private sector. It will also inform the World Customs Organization Private Sector Consultative Group (WCO PSCG) as to Customs issues in the ESA region.
The main aim is to work with Customs Administrations in the furtherance of the SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate global trade in the region and to contribute to building a fair, safe, secure environment for growth, thereby improving the living standards of all citizens in the region.
It will monitor the progress in the ESA region and where appropriate, adopt the practical implementation of various WCO toolkits and instruments and these will enable it to assess any progress made by measuring cross border synchronization.
- The Regional Vice-Chair, in consultation with the Chair of the WCO PSCG, will appoint all RPSG-ESA members.
- The RPSG-ESA should have a diverse membership – various countries, role players in the end-to-end supply chain, business size – including small and medium sized enterprises and industry/ sector/modality.
- The RPSG-ESA will consist of up to 30 members.
- The RPSG-ESA will predominantly consist of representatives of importers/exporters, manufacturers, supply chain service providers (Customs brokers, cargo carriers, warehouses/depots), technical service providers and trade associations, professional bodies and relevant academia.
3. Purpose and Scope
The purpose and scope of the RPSG-ESA is to inform and advise the WCO Regional Heads of Customs Administrations (Governing Council of the ESA Region), the Regional Vice-Chair, and in collaboration with the ROCB on Customs and International Trade, matters from the perspective of the private sector. It will also inform the WCO PSCG as to Customs issues in the ESA region. The RPSG -ESA complements the vital contributions made by private sector in the WCO PSCG by following in the field the implementation of WCO standards and practices. The RPSG-ESA members will not be represented or participate as the “WCO PSCG” at non-WCO external events. The RPCG-ESA will also endeavor to mirror and/or make reference to the global Terms of Reference of the WCO PSCG as necessary.
4. Key Deliverables
The RPSG-ESA’s key deliverables are:
- to inform and advise the Regional Vice-Chair of the WCO ESA Region and the WCO Regional Heads of Customs Administrations on Customs and International Trade, matters from the perspective of the private sector;
- to support, monitor and assist in the adoption and effective implementation of agreed WCO and other relevant international instruments;
- to leverage business resources and government relationships to advocate for and implement programs developed and adopted by the WCO.
- to inform the WCO PSCG of the status and practical challenges of implementation of WCO programs in the region
- The RPSG-ESA shall provide a written report for the WCO PSCG at the conclusion of each meeting.
5. Operational structure
- RPSG-ESA member terms will be for three years with the term commencing on 1 July ending 30 June.
- RPSG-ESA members may not serve more than two consecutive terms.
- The RPSG-ESA will employ a system of rotation where members leave the RPSG after their terms are completed, subject to transitional arrangements required to give initial effect to these terms.
- Former RPSG-ESA members may be re-appointed to the RPSG-ESA after a one-year hiatus.
- The RPSG-ESA Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson shall be elected by the RPSG-ESA members. The RPSG-ESA Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson are subject to the same term of office and rotation policy as all RPSG-ESA members.
- The Private sector, under the RPSG-ESA will organize themselves in two working groups governed by clear identifiable deliverables in each working group. The segregation of the two working groups are based on monitoring, evaluation, information gathering and verification in terms of AEO program, WCO-TFA. Challenges to the private sector, World Bank ranking in terms of cross border management and in-transit movement due to the magnitude of landlocked countries in the ESA-region.
- Each working group will be headed by a champion from RPSG-ESA (subject matter expert). Refer to diagram layout
- The working group will have a minimum of four active members for inclusiveness and a board overview in the ESA Region
- The working groups will be managed by clear deliverables and a short 2- page summary report of activities on achievements which will be documented and combined in the RPSG-ESA region as indicated under section 4.
- To promote continuity, the Regional Vice-Chair, in consultation with the Chairperson of the WCO PSCG, will appoint new RPSG-ESA members when necessary so that terms are staggered and the RPSG always has 30 members. This will be managed to ensure that the institutional memory is not eroded in a handover to new members.
- Entities wishing to become members of the RPSG-ESA shall submit a written application to the Chairperson of the RPSG-ESA
- The Regional Heads of Customs Administrations (GC) each year will include specific designated items pertaining to international trade, for which RPSG-ESA members and relevant non-PSCG Observers will be invited to attend. This will be facilitated via the World Customs Organization East and Southern Africa Regional Office for Capacity Building, (WCO ESA ROCB).
- A WCO Secretariat representative and the WCO Regional vice chair shall be invited to attend and participate in RPSG meetings.
- All communication will be channeled through WCO ESA ROCB.
6. Meeting Proceedings
The RPSG-ESA will meet at least twice a year. The sub-working groups will meet more regularly to ensure the key deliverables are communicated and stay relevant to the region.
At least one of these meetings will take place at the same location as the ESA Region Governing Council meeting.
The latest technology will be deployed to working methodology to overcome any travel and time constraints in an attempt to work inclusively with the private sector in the ESA region under the guidance of the WCO ESA ROCB.
- Skype Call for Business. (Champion for active working groups)
- Centralized database and web page under the ESA Region
7. Resources Required
A work plan for a year in advance will be tabled for approval by ESA Governing Council, WCO ESA ROCB and Regional Private Sector Group. (RPSG- ESA)
This will ensure that work deliverables are done in a preplanned, transparent and shared platform.
8. Measurement of performance:
Given that the RPSG-ESA has been specifically created for working with the monitoring and practical implementation of various WCO toolkits and instruments, it is required to ensure that the progress in regard to the free flow of trade across borders is measured and monitored.
The following two instruments will be used to guide on the overall performance within the time constraint.
- WCO – TRS in the ESA region ( Time, Release studies)
- World Bank survey rating “Trading Across Borders” and “Ease of doing business”, across the ESA region
The RPSG ESA Region will be required to harness the resources required to be able to implement these measurement initiatives on appropriate lanes and to provide feedback to the Regional vice chair as indicated.