A 30-member experts drawn from Customs administrations across the continent and international organisations involved in Customs and Trade Facilitation has paid a working visit to the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) to familiarise themselves with the company’s operations.
The team led by Mr Ali Musa, Head of Customs, and Mr Willie Shumba, Principal Customs Expert at the African Union (AU) Commission were in the country for the 5th African Union Trade Facilitation Forum in Africa organised by the AU commission.
It was under the theme, ‘Implementing Single Window Systems for improved trade facilitation in Africa.’
The visit also afforded the team the opportunity to have a guided tour of the facilities of GCNet including its Tier III data centre, network operating centre and allied infrastructure.
Receiving the delegation, Executive Director of GCNet, Mr Emmanuel Darko expressed the company’s appreciation to host the delegation.
‘We look forward to more visits from our sister countries to GCNet to learn, share and exchange experiences to deepen collaboration among players in the trading community in pursuit of deepening Africa’s market integration and significantly increasing intra African trade,’ Mr Darko said.
Commenting on the visit, Mr Willie Shumba acknowledged the significant development in Ghana’s trade facilitation industry over the years.
“Ghana has advanced rapidly in terms of trade facilitation, customs facilitation and customs systems. You have moved very far as a country and it is appreciated to see the way that you are going well and I am sure based on what and how you have advanced you are also in the position to assist other African customs administration,” he stressed.
‘It’s so amazing I’ve heard a lot about GCNet before but practically to be here at GCNet and see the amount of work and the amount of infrastructure you have invested, the amount of skills that you have invested, it’s so amazing I am so amazed,’ Mr Sumba recapped.
Explaining the focus of the AU Trade Facilitation strategy, Mr Ali Musa acknowledged that GCNet had a role to play in the Customs Corporation project in Africa to drive the African trade environment.
He was enthused about GCNet’s infrastructure which has contributed to positioning Ghana’s trade facilitation industry as one of the best on the African continent.
As part of efforts to simplify and harmonise customs and transit procedures for seamless clearance of goods within the continent, Mr Musa counted on GCNet to share its experience with neighbouring countries.
The African Union Trade Facilitation Forum was organised in line with the Action Plan for Boosting Intra-African Trade and taking into account the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) during the 12th Extra Ordinary Session of the African Heads of State and Government held in Niamey, Niger on 7 July 2019.
State parties to the AfCFTA are expected to commence trading on 01 July 2020. To date, 54 out of the 55 AU member states have signed the AfCFTA Framework Agreement, and 27 have ratified it. Ghana recently was chosen by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
GCNet has been recognised as the Trade Facilitation Organisation and the pioneer Single Window operator for the past 17 years at the centre of Ghana’s digitisation journey with the provision of the platform and infrastructure that networks all parties to a single window platform, ensuring efficiency, transparency and security in the trade facilitation and revenue mobilisation ecosystem.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE