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Regional collaboration punted as catalyst for growing intra-African trade

Regional collaboration punted as catalyst for growing intra-African trade

By Adolf Kaure.

Opening the 30th Governing Council Meeting of the World Customs Organisation East and Southern African Region, the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises, Hon Iipumbu Shiimi said regional collaboration is an essential component of boosting trade in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The meeting was recently hosted by the Namibia Revenue Agency (NAMRA) and attended by approximately 100 delegates at Swakopmund.

“Namibia has launched a National Strategy and Implementation Plan for AfCFTA through collaboration with partners such as the Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations System,” the minister said adding that the goal is to enhance intra-African exports and bolster export-led manufacturing in Namibia.

“As we navigate this transformative landscape, it is important for us to leverage our collective expertise and resources to overcome challenges and unlock the full potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area, driving sustainable economic growth and prosperity for our nation and the continent at large,” he said.

Potentially, AfCFTA offers access to a market of 1.3 billion people.

Shiimi also emphasised the significance of executing effective border management in the region, in particular within the framework of the AfCFTA, digitization, transit facilitation and data utilization.

“The streamlined procedures at borders not only facilitate trade but also significantly contribute to regional economic growth and stability,” said Shiimi.

Namibia has been actively involved in enhancing its systems, exemplified by the introduction of 24-hour border operations and the establishment of one stop border posts at key transit points like the Trans Kalahari border post and Mamuno in collaboration with its neighbouring country, Botswana.

These are some of the initiatives that have underscored the importance of efficient border management in facilitating trade and ensuring regional integration. “Namibia’s commitment to this initiative signifies not only a monumental step to regional economic integration but also underscores the critical role of customs in facilitating seamless trade across borders,” he said.

The WCO East and Southern Africa Region consist of 24 member states which are Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia , South Africa, South Sudan, eSwatini, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises Honourable Iipumbu Shiimi delivers his keynote address during the opening of the World Customs Organisation East and Southern Africa Governing Council meeting at Swakopmund. (Photograph by Adolf Kaure)


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