On 17 September 2021, the World Customs Organization (WCO) announced that, under the auspices of the WCO/Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Joint Project, it had organised a high-level official launching ceremony of the Master Trainer Programme (MTP) on Rules of origin (RoO).
The high-level official ceremony took place virtually on 8 September 2021 with the participation of 16 Customs administrations in Africa, namely Botswana, Burundi, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, as well as a number of regional entities such as ECOWAS, UEMOA, EAC, and AfCTFA Secretariat. The launch of the new MTP is planned to continue the remarkable success of the flagship programme of the WCO/JICA Joint Project, especially on the MTP, which recently started its phase 2 of the project for a 4-year project.
The MTP aims at developing sustainable training capacity in Africa by (1) developing a pool of well-experienced trainers and (2) developing regionally featured training materials and programmes to be used by these trainers. Upon completion of the MTP, successful alumni are expected to become a regional asset and contribute to the sustainable economic development of Africa through Customs modernisation.
The launching ceremony was attended by WCO Secretary General, the WCO Deputy Secretary-General, WCO Director for Tariff and Trade, Senior Vice-President of JICA, Director General of Japan Customs, and Heads of the 16 Customs Administrations as well as COMESA, ECOWAS, EAC, UEMOA, and AfCFTA Secretariat.
In his closing remarks, the WCO Deputy Secretary General stressed once again that the key to the success of the Master Trainer Programme was (1) strong and continued commitments of participating Customs administrations to the Master Trainer Programme and (2) tailor-made deliverables such as training courses and materials which meet the needs of African Customs Administrations (3) the assurance of complemental relationship among projects and programmes.