The last in a series of workshops for Senegal’s National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) drew 36 participants from government, private sector and civil society to validate and finalize preparations to implement the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO-TFA). As with previous workshops over the past year, the four-day workshop on September 19-22, 2017, was hosted by the Trade Hub and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for Sous-Comité National sur la Facilitation des Echanges (SCNFE).
The TFA, which came into force in February 2017, aims to simplify, modernize, and harmonize import and export processes, boosting economic competition in many countries worldwide—particularly in Africa.
Under the guidance of UNCTAD experts, workshop participants learned tools and indicators from international organizations to help countries monitor success in trade facilitation. Participants also learned how to identify and define indicators for monitoring implementation of key WTO-TFA measures and how to evaluate the impact of implementing the measures in congruence with the agreement’s main WTO-TFA objectives.
At the workshop, participants validated a communications plan—developed by UNCTAD with input from the SCNFE—to guide the committee in disseminating information to stakeholders involved in trade facilitation. They also validated a training plan to guide future capacity-building activities. Participants discussed key steps to ensure the sustainability of both the SCNFE and the implementation of WTO-TFA measures.
Mr. Papa Thialaw Fall—SCNFE chairperson and director for trade facilitation and private sector partnership at the Directorate of Customs—thanked USAID, the Trade Hub, and UNCTAD for their support and reiterated the need for further training as the SCNFE executes the implementation plan.
“The training has helped us to understand more how we need to carry out our work,” Mr. Fall said. “We will endeavor to apply what we have learned over the course of last year.”
Since September 2016, the Trade Hub and UNCTAD have held 4 programs each for NTFCs in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal to help them understand trade facilitation, define the legal mandate and functions of NTFCs, and develop mid- to long-term WTO-TFA implementation plans.