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BAFICAA: A Model for Business and Government Collaboration to Improve Customs Administration in East Africa
Business Action for the Improvement of Customs Administration in Africa (BAFICAA) is a unique private sector- led trade facilitation programme that aims to build a cooperative dialogue between business and governments in the East African Community (EAC) region. The programme, initiated by Business Action for Africa, with support from Unilever, BAT and Diageo, has created a partnership between leading businesses, government authorities, the East Africa Business Council and other international organisations to improve the customs environment and to change the culture of customs administration from a controlling function to a facilitating one.
As a result of concerted efforts over the past few years by customs administrations, SITPRO (the UK’s former trade facilitation agency), and other business interlocutors, a common Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) model is to be implemented as a top priority by the five EAC countries (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda).
The AEO model will make the EAC the second region in the world, after the EU, to introduce mutual recognition of authorised economic operators and customs controls at the regional level. It will give the business community considerable benefits, which include a reduction in the number of physical and documentary inspections as well as priority inspections, and the possibility to choose a place where goods can be inspected. The proposed common AEO model is part of the SIDA-supported World Customs Organisation (WCO) – EAC customs modernisation project, of which BAFICAA through SITPRO has been an active partner. In terms of next steps, the East African Business Council (EABC) will be taking a lead role in familiarising businesses with the AEO model and inviting them to participate in pilot projects.
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