Southern African countries sign modernisation programme with UK
Countries in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) have signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Kingdom (UK) to support the SACU Custom Modernisation Programme, the regional customs union said on Tuesday.
SACU said the programme seeks to strengthen collaboration and enhance administrative efficiency amongst customs administrations in the SACU member states of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa.
"The key objective of the programme is to enhance efficiency in order to facilitate cross-border movement of goods while securing borders to curb the scourge of illicit trade, as well as to ensure seamless movement of legitimate trade. The programme also aims to promote traders' compliance with the national laws and policies," it said.
According to SACU, the support from the UK will assist SACU member states to fully implement the above critical regional tools and frameworks.
"It is envisaged that upon full implementation of the SACU Customs Modernisation Programme, the SACU region will benefit from amongst others, reduced costs, predictability and transparency, improved co-operation and collaboration with various stakeholders, increased competitiveness and sustainable customs reform and modernization efforts in the region," it said.
For the private sector, the benefits that will accrue in the long term include reduction in the transaction costs associated with border crossings, and enhanced competitiveness of business which encourages new investments, it said.
SACU, one of the world's oldest customs union with a history of more than 100 years, consist of Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Eswatini.