The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) under the leadership of Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe is bracing up for the African Continental Free Trade.
Under the framework of the EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme, funded by the EU, the World Customs Organisation (WCO), in partnership with the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) is currently holding a week-long training for 15 GRA Customs Officers on Advanced Rules of Origin at the Mesty Hotel.
The workshop was preceded by a basic training on Rules of Origin held in Banjul in November, 2022.
The objective of the workshop is to further assist the GRA in enhancing its knowledge on Rules of Origin in preparation of the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The resource persons were drawn from WCO in Brussels and Kenya. The training was attended by the Commissioner General of GRA Yankuba Darboe, Deputy Commissioner General and Head of Domestic Taxes Essa Jallow and Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Alhagie K Mbye among other directors at the GRA.
Declaring the training open, Mr Darboe hailed the WCO and Kenya for training GRA officers on Rules of Origin among other reforms.
He also used the occasion to re-echo his vision in building the capacity of young officers to be able to effectively and efficiently deliver to expectation, while preparing them to become leaders of the new generation.
Mr Darboe seized the opportunity to advise the officers to take the training seriously as it would help them in the discharge of their duties. He also reiterated that capacity building would continue to be the first priority driven agenda to ensure that GRA officers are well equipped with the requisite knowledge to deliver to expectation. He also asked for an interactive session as officers should ask as much as possible to clear their doubts and concerns.
For his part, the commissioner of Customs and Excise, Alhagie K Mbye, commended the Management of GRA for the opportunity.
He described the training as an opportunity for the officers to learn and share best experiences that would go a long way in helping them in their work. He also advised the officers that when much is given much is expected.
He reminded them that GRA management and board is building their capacity to enable them to deliver effectively and efficiently as expected. He also applauded the WCO and Kenya Tax Administration for the knowledge sharing.
He highlighted numerous reforms that GRA has undertaken.
The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area bringing together the 55 countries of the African Union (AU) and eight (8) Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The overall mandate of the AfCFTA is to create a single continental market with a population of about 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of approximately US$ 3.4 trillion. The AfCFTA is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, the African Union’s long-term development strategy for transforming the continent into a global powerhouse.
As part of its mandate, the AfCFTA is to eliminate trade barriers and boost intra-Africa trade. In particular, it is to advance trade in value-added production across all service sectors of the African Economy. The AfCFTA will contribute to establishing regional value chains in Africa, enabling investment and job creation. The practical implementation of the AfCFTA has the potential to foster industrialisation, job creation, and investment, thus enhancing the competitiveness of Africa in the medium to long term.
The AfCFTA entered into force on May 30, 2019, after 24 Member States deposited their Instruments of Ratification following a series of continuous continental engagements spanning since 2012. It was launched at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Niamey – Niger, in July 2019. The commencement of trading under the AfCFTA was on January 1, 2021. The AfCFTA Secretariat is hosted in Accra, Ghana. His Excellency Wamkele Mene is the first elected Secretary-General coordinating the implementation of the Agreement.