Facilitating Intra-African Trade Customs Seek Ways To Lift Barriers: Customs Seek Ways To Lift Barriers

The 9th ordinary meeting of the African Union (AU) Sub-committee of Directors General of Customs ope

Despite Africa’s rich endowment in natural resources (12 per cent of the world‘s oil reserves, 42 per cent of its gold, 80 per cent of chromium and platinum group of metals, the continent remains poor. Intra African trade is stubbornly low. The cost of doing business in Africa, characterized by lengthy port handling, poor inland transport, cumbersome border procedures, numerous road blocks and many non-tariff barriers, is extremely high compared to other regions of the world. According to statistics contained in the African Economic Outlook 2017 (a flagship report published by the African Development Bank), trade among African countries only slightly expanded from 10 per cent in the year 2000 to about 14 per cent in 2014. It is therefore against this backdrop, that the Commission of the African Union (AU) is organizing the 9th AU Sub-Committee of Directors General of Customs meeting to be held on 16-17 November 2017 in Yaounde, Cameroon. The objectives of this get-together are to carry out an examination of the work done so far by the various Customs Technical Working Groups in addressing the issues in the Trade Facilitation Cluster of the Action Plan on Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT), exchange views and reflect on the way forward. Holding on the theme “The contribution of Customs to the Analysis of International Trade Data, for Security and the Boosting of Intra-African Trade,” the Yaounde meeting will therefore examine ways of turning the tides and reverse the low level of intra continental trade in Africa. The conclusions of the meeting, which will be officially opened by Cameroon’s Minister of Finance, Alamine Ousmane Mey, in the presence of the Secretary General of the World’s Customs Organisation, Kunio Mikuriya as well as the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Ambassador Albert Muchanga, will thereafter be presented to the African Union Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Trade, Industry and Minerals. In prelude to Thursday’s opening of the AU Sub-committee of Directors General of Customs meeting, experts from the 54 member countries of the AU, have been brainstorming on the theme to produce a blueprint document that will be examined and validated by the Director Generals on Friday November 17, 2017, when the curtains of the conclave will be drawn.

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