Building capacity to help Africa trade better

73 firms join plan for fast EAC trade


73 firms join plan for fast EAC trade

73 firms join plan for fast EAC trade
Photo credit: New Times

Some 73 companies are on track for expedited payment of refunds and reduced customs security checks after they enrolled in an East African Community (EAC) programme to promote regulatory compliance, enhance trade and improve border security.

The firms will reap other benefits of the programme, named Authorised Economic Operators (AEO), including automatic passing of their declarations and will undergo no physical examination of goods except where risks are high, among others.

The incentives apply to multinationals as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have joined the programme.

73 companies

Among private sector organisations to benefit from the AEO programme are Mitchel Cotts Freight, Mzuri Sweets Ltd and Umoja Rubber.

“Seventy three companies have so far been enrolled in the programme since it was introduced over three years ago.

The EAC targets to enrol over 500 companies in the next five years,” said Dr Kirsten Focken, programme manager at German international development organisation GIZ which provides technical support for the initiative.

GIZ is also supporting the EAC integration process and its development goals.
Mr Focken said the programme is headed for roll-out.

Regional customs

The AEO initiative – launched to reform regional customs services – targets more than 500 companies, indicating that over 400 more are expected to join in due course.

Under the scheme, firms involved in international trade are scrutinised and certified as AEO. The programme is open to all players including clearing agents, revenue authorities and standards bodies.

The programme is expected to reduce the cost of doing business in EAC region, improve border security, promote regulatory compliance and hasten clearance.

“The EAC secretariat, the World Customs Organisation and the German government through GIZ commenced implementation of AEO. It will harmonise regional customs standards and also simplify regional customs procedures,” the statement said.

The concept is one of the trade facilitation and supply chain standards in the World Customs Organisation Council Framework.


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