The European Commission mobilises € 5 million for a new capacity-building project to support African countries implementing and enforcing global rules on customs and trade facilitation, following an agreement signed on 4 October with the World Customs Organization (WCO). The project, which will be implemented by the WCO, is primarily aimed at promoting the "Harmonized System" (HS). This system helps countries to coordinate and harmonize their customs rules while reducing the costs of international trade.
This new funding from the Pan-African Programme should support African countries, Regional Economic Communities and the African Union Commission to use the latest version of the HS in a coordinated manner across the continent, thus enabling goods to move more easily and quickly. This project is linked to the implementation of the EU External Investment Plan and the Communication on a new ‘Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and Investments’ announced by President Juncker in his State of the Union Speech 2018 and adopted the same day by the Commission.
This action supports the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), formally established by the Assembly of the African Union on 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. It is thus rooted in the common commitments made at the 5th African Union - European Union Summit in November 2017 in Abidjan.