After government expressed a strong interest on Thursday, Malawi was unanimously elected vice chair of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) on Friday.
The development means the country through Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) will lead 24 member countries in the WCO East and Southern African (ESA) region.
The WCO aims at achieving several goals in customs like international cooperation, information sharing, harmonisation and simplification of customs systems and procedures, trade facilitation, supply chain security, capacity building, research and analysis, compliance and law enforcement.
When he opened the governing council meeting of the WCO-ESA , deputy finance minister Cornelius Mwalwanda said it was in Malawi’s interest to head the group.
“As a country which abides by the WCO’s norms and values Malawi would like to expresss its deep interest to chair the WCO-ESA region,” said Mwalwanda.
Eventually this paid off the next day as the country was overwhelmingly voted into office.
MRA Commissioner of Customs and Excise (Imports) Agness Katsonga Phiri said it was an hounour that the country moves into a leadership role of the world body.
“This shows trust by the 24 countries in Malawi to be in the forefront of WCO as we move to ensure more capacity and integration within administrations while in the long run greatly contributing to the growth of our local and regional economies. We are capable as Malawi to achieve all set goals by WCO to the ESA region. This responsibility is for the whole of Malawi to be proud of as it will not be a one man show,” said Katsonga Phiri.
Malawi took over the mantle from Mauritius and South Africa is the deputy vice chair, Kenya heads the policy commission and alternate members to this commission are Swaziland and Mauritius.
Uganda is responsible for finance committee, Lesotho and Zimbabwe audit commitee and the governance committee comprises of South Sudan, Namibia, Zambia and Swaziland.