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WCO publishes first evaluation report of the EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme

In July 2022, the World Customs Organization (WCO), on a funding from the European Union, launched in Ghana the Programme on the implementation and application of rules of origin for enhanced Intra-African trade, also known as EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme. This initiative is aimed at supporting the African continent to improve its capacity to deal with rules of origin and ultimately to support the harmonized and well-coordinated implementation and application of the rules of origin under Annex 2 of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and other regional and international commitments. After one year of implementation, the WCO has published its first evaluation report, which shows positive results, with a total of 37 activities that have been implemented in 2022, at continental, regional and national levels, benefitting 14 national customs administrations and 3 Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in the continent.

Support at continental level included the provision of assistance to the AfCFTA Secretariat for the technical update of AfCFTA Product Specific Rules of origin (PSR) to align them to the latest version of the Harmonized System (2022). On the other hand, support at regional and national levels included the organization of a series of workshops and capacity building missions. Their objective was to reinforce the understanding of officials from regional organizations, national governments and the private sector on how implement and apply the rules of origin in compliance with Annex 2 of the Protocol on Trade in Goods of the AfCFTA Agreement and in line with international commitments and best practices.

Initiatives organized under the EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme included, among others, a workshop in Cairo, Egypt, organized in partnership with Egypt Customs, from 12 to 14 December 2022 to support the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative, and a Regional Consultation with the ECOWAS Commission and representatives from its member States, held from 24 to 25 October 2022 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to which also our CEO Danilo Desiderio participated (page 22 of the report). This consultation workshop was aimed at identifying training and capacity building needs and develop a work plan for provision of technical assistance activities to ECOWAS and its member countries to support implementation of RoO and development of self-certification of origin schemes, also within other free trade agreements of which ECOWAS and its member states are signatories, such as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) of the European Union for instance.

Future support to the Secretariat will include the provision of capacity building to the AfCFTA Secretariat, RECs, CAs, private sector, as well as publications of key studies and manuals.

The report is available on the WCO website in English and French.

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