Report – 13th Webinar – 23 June 2022, 14h00 to 15h00 (CAT; UCT +0200)

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Disruptive technologies in the ESA Region

Introduction

This WCO-ESA-RPSG webinar – the 13th of its kind – titled “Disruptive technologies in the ESA Region” tackled the many potential benefits of new technologies and their application in the region’s customs and trade. Indeed, technology is ever-increasing in our daily lives, as it is in business. To that end, in 2019, the World Customs Organization 2019 published a study on Disruptive Technologies. This Study Report aims to share insights into what’s regarded as “disruptive technologies” and to allow Customs administrations to reap the benefits of their present opportunities. These benefits are also valid for trade in our region hence the focus.

The benefits could be tremendous, and policy leaders and the private sector must understand which technologies could be relevant to them and prepare accordingly. Although the word disruptive might have a negative ring, we are talking about a natural evolution of technology. Our lives are enriched in many respects by the so-called disruptive technologies. The webinar was chaired by Juanita Maree (WCO ESA-RPSG Chair), with technical support by Jacob van Rensburg (WCO ESA-RPSG Executive Coordinator) and headlined by the technology expert:

  1. Werner van Niekerk – Director and Co-founder, Maluti X – a 2018-start-up supply chain solutions company aiming to build robust and sustainable solutions in the technological space of the supply chain.

Outline of the agenda:

  1. Welcome & rules of engagement: Juanita Maree
  2. Expert discussions:
    1. Werner van Niekerk
  3. Question and Answer opportunity
  4. Closure and final thoughts

1. Discussions and takeaways

From several polls administered during the webinar, 90% of the attendees said there were not enough 4IR integrated offerings to support modernized processes in the ESA region. Furthermore, participants noted that (1) automated reporting and business intelligence, (2) connectivity – supply chain digitalization, and (3) Case recording and getting OGAs on Customs Authority’s message grids were the most important technological upgrade needed for regional customs and trade. Lastly, the most significant obstacles impeding technological progress were (1) cost and (2) knowledge and know-how. However, despite some members believing that adopting the technologies is essential for business in the ESA region, others believe that business will carry on as usual.

The webinar also tackled several case studies of practical uses of these technologies, notably transporters and warehouse operations in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Mozambique.

The presentations to the webinar are available here:

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