The African Alliance for E-Commerce (AACE), in partnership with the Congo Single Window, organized the 4th edition of the International Single Windows Conference from the 5th to the 7th October 2015, at the “Palais des Congrès” in Brazzaville (Republic of Congo).

The opening ceremony took place under the Presidency of the Minister of transport, Civil Aviation and the Merchant Marine, and in the presence of gentlemen Eugène Rufin Bouya, General Director of The Unique window of cross-border transactions (GUOT), Roy Santana, representative of the WTO, and Chiza Charles Chiumya, representative of the African Union.

During three days of work, delegates conducted a thorough reflection on the effective use of single points of contact to facilitate the concrete implementation of the Bali agreements on trade facilitation.

The conference has recorded more than 600 participants from 29 countries as follows: South Africa, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, France, Gabon, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Mauritius, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Kingdom, Rwanda, Senegal, Switzerland, Tanzania, and Thailand.

The strong participation of technical partners and regional organizations involved in trade facilitation were also noted. It is the African Union, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank, ITC, WTO, economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific with the United Nations (UNESCAP), the International Maritime Bureau, l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), the Convention on trade international of species of fauna and Flora (CITES), the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA), HIV Corridor.

The following recommendations were made:

  • Governments are invited to better oversee the creation of their national Committee on trade facilitation whose mission is to involve key stakeholders in the coordination and the development of a roadmap for the practical implementation of the agreements;
  • Single Windows are encouraged to work with Customs under the Trade Facilitation National Committee to avoid duplication of resources;
  • Countries with a one stop shop should take into account the needs of regional economic commissions and landlocked countries to better interoperability;
  • Studying innovative ways to facilitate access to information to the private sector; especially to SMEs to take full advantage of trade facilitation measures;
  • Implement a policy of capacity-building for all stakeholders;
  • Ensuring that the PSCs billing model is consistent with Article 6 of the WTO agreements;
  • The Regional Economic Commissions are invited to develop roadmaps for the implementation of the Unique Regional Tellers;
  • The Regional Economic Commissions are invited to harmonize their efforts in the implementation of the trade facilitation agreements.