The 6th African Union Customs Technical Working Group meeting focusing on Interconnectivity of Computerised Customs Clearance Systems was held at the Regional Training Centre in Port Louis. The Director General of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), Mr. Sudhamo Lal, as well as the Head of Customs Cooperation Division of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission, Mr A. Iboura Moussa, were present at the launching ceremony.
The main objective of the three-day workshop is to reflect, share ideas and chart the way forward on the Mapping of Data Elements so that African Union (AU) member States can benefit from interconnectivity and for this to be done in a harmonised and coordinated manner.
In his address, the Director General of the MRA, highlighted that the World Customs Organisation recognises the importance of interconnectivity and has thus developed a three-pronged approach consisting of namely, people connectivity, institutional connectivity and information connectivity. Technology, he said, is a driving catalyst for the connectivity agenda, in particular between the Customs administration, its economic operators and international trade organisations.
According to Mr Lal, technology can provide innovative new ways to drive and enhance connectivity, giving customs significant new opportunities to transform its operations and effectiveness. The need for interconnectivity, he said, has become even more crucial given that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement has recently entered into force. He observed that the African continent is more likely to become the largest free trade area and intra African trade is expected to be considerably boosted, adding that seamless trade can only be achieved through a high degree of connectivity between the Customs administration and various stakeholders involved in trade movements.
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