January 25, 2024

SADC launches the Regional Customs-Business Forum

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat officially launched the Regional Customsto Business Forum (RCBF) in Johannesburg, South Africa on 19th January 2024.

The SADC Regional Customs to Business Forum is a significant vehicle of the SADC region that seeks to foster trade partnership based on mutual trust and inclusive participation of the private sector in policy formulation and application, implementation of innovative trade facilitation measures and harnessing of collective solutions to the ever-increasing challenges of managing the cross-border supply chain. 

In his official address at the launch, Mr. Rakokoana MakoaCommissioner Client Services of the Revenue Services Lesotho, emphasised the need for the Forum to provide conducive and constructive dialogue between the private sector and customs in furtherance of trade facilitation in the SADC region.

He further articulated that the role of RCBF is to address consolidated issues from the private sector through the SADC Business Council whilst the Sub-Committee on Customs Cooperation (SCCC) will use this Forum to engage the private sector on shifts in policy.

The key objective of the RCBF is to harness policy advocacy opportunities for Customs to Business (C2B) that expedite implementation of regional trade agreements and trade facilitation initiatives which support smooth movement of goods across borders within the SADC Region. The Forum is mandated to inform, advise, identify, discuss, and present options for addressing identified impediments to the flow of goods across borders in the SADC Region. 

Mr. Alcides Monteiro, Senior Programme Officer - Customs at SADC Secretariat said the rationale of the RCBF is to promote smooth cross border trade and trade facilitation measures that encourage private sector participation in export-oriented value chains and implementation of trade agreements such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 

Held under the theme Promoting InclusivenessDialogue and Collaborationthe RCBF launch was attended by 14 SADC Member States and representatives of the business community from the Region. 

Mr. Peter Varndell, Executive Secretary of the SADC Business Council, anticipated that the RCBF will accelerate economic integration and shared prosperity through closer collaboration with all stakeholders to eliminate non-tariff barriers, simplify and harmonise trade procedures, and create an enabling environment for intra-regional trade and investment. 

Representatives of the private sector within the SADC Region encouraged the RBCF to fully engage with all stakeholders prior to implementation of national and regional policy deviations through improved communication and SADC Secretariat to accelerate harmonisation of systems in transportation and clearance of goods between borders in the Region. The SADC Secretariat was also requested to enhance capacity building on regional customs procedures, compliance requirements, and other substantive trade facilitation matters.

The European Union-SADC Trade Facilitation Programme supported the establishment and launch of the SADC-RCBF, as well as development of the inaugural five-year high-level strategy and work-plan which was adopted during the launch. 

The link for the video for the RCBF: https://we.tl/t-5xWQFaxvAC

Attachment Size
RCBC Infographic info.pdf 5.13 MB