COMESA member states are banking on technology to improve customs co-operation and trade facilitation across the region so as to enhance intra-regional trade.
COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe says implementation of the Digital Free Trade Area will, among others, attract investments into the region and accelerate economic growth and development in the regional bloc.
The two day, 4th COMESA heads of customs subcommittee meeting held in Nairobi will among others deliberate on the draft regulations on the electronic certificate of origin, the COMESA regional authorized Economic Operator programme implementation guidelines as well as receive updates on the COMESA Digital Free Trade Area implementation.
Kapwepwe says this will go a long way in enhancing intra African trade in the region.
Member states are required to align their national customs laws and traffic with the regionally agreed customs union instruments among them the Common Market Customs Managements regulations.
However, difficulties in adjustment of costs associated with Common External Tariff, consumer prices, fear of possible injury caused to domestic industries as well as fear of impact on competitiveness are some of the major challenges hampering implementation.
Stakeholders have expressed optimism that the outcome of the deliberations will provide impetus towards reaching COMESA’s stated objectives of promoting deeper regional integration and enhanced socio-economic development of member states citizenry.