Customs officials attending a tripartite meeting, which is bringing together delegates from COMESA, EAC and SADC, have challenged African countries to increase their economic cooperation in order to boost intra-trade within the continent.
The meeting is taking place in Kigali, participants argued that with increased cooperation, customs administrations would play a vital role in the growth of international and regional trade and development of the global marketplace.
Ben Kagarama, the Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), said that if customs officials fail to comprehend regional policies that affect trade and taxes, then regional integration will turn out to be more costly than expected.
“Trade policy, therefore, whether national or regional, can significantly be injured by customs poor procedures and other related challenges.”
The Tripartite family was officially launched in 2008 to promote inter-regional co-operation and integration among the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
Thabo Moleko, the Commissioner in charge of customs and excise in Lesotho Revenue Authority, says that as countries share similar basic laws, institutions, and frameworks it would be easy to remove unnecessary barriers to trade.
Through efficient collaboration with all the stakeholders, it is expected that general business conditions will improve and that it will create new cross-border collaborations.
The two day meeting, will discuss inter and intra-regional co-operational issues and international conventions. Other areas to be discussed include infrastructure development, tax tariffs and industrial development