Agreement to promote free movement of goods in Africa

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was last week signed between the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and the World Customs Organisation (WCO), aimed at operationalizing the tariff schedules and ensuring additional free and efficient movement of goods in Africa.

The MoU was signed in Brussels, Belgium by Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat and Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary-General of the WCO.

Mene said: “The MoU would enable the WCO to partner with the AfCFTA in ensuring that Customs Administrations are fully equipped to implement the AfCFTA Agreement.”

The AfCFTA Secretariat and the WCO are united in their shared goal of increasing prosperity in Africa through the liberalization of trade on the continent.

This MoU represents the next logical step for the two organisations as they work to reduce barriers to trade across Africa by connecting customs systems, populating the AfCFTA Tariff Book and providing capacity building for customs officials and administration.

The collaboration is set to capacitate the AfCFTA with: (1) technological systems that would allow standardization of data and connectivity of Customs systems, (2) a developed AfCFTA E -Tariff-Book, (3)enhanced skills and expertise of Customs officials in operationalizing the AfCFTA, (4) migration of all AfCFTA Member States to HS 2022 and (5) effective start of trading using the AfCFTA tariff Book

The agreement will allow the two organisations to work together and support each other as they address logistical challenges whilst seeking to implement programmes and develop trade across Africa.