The project in Kenya aims to boost trade facilitation under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). One approach is to strengthen the Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) programme. An AEO is a company that fulfills different compliance and security criteria. Such companies benefit from e.g., reduced inspections on goods and quicker clearance times at borders. In recent weeks, various activities have taken place to further enhance the Kenyan AEO programme.
Workshop on AEO Action Plan
Senior managers from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) came together for a workshop in February 2023. The activity aimed to build further capacities on the AEO programme and to jointly create an action plan for its implementation. For practical insights the logistics company and accredited AEO Mitchel Cotts Kenya invited all participants to an on-site visit. The workshop paved the way for KRA to develop the framework on implementing the AEO scheme.
The joint discussions showed that concerted efforts from all implementing agencies are crucial to put an AEO programme into action. Moreover, it is important to align other PGAs in the implementation as outlined by the World Customs Organization’s SAFE Framework of Standards.
As a next step, a high-level forum for the executive level of PGAs is going to take place for further awareness and commitment.
Certification Ceremony Boosting the Recognition of AEO Companies
KRA awarded certificates of recognition to over 300 AEOs in collaboration with the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation. The event in December 2022 met the demand of AEO businesses for wider recognition. Previously, companies received confidential letters acknowledging them as AEOs. However, the companies voiced their interest to indicate their accreditation to clients and other PGAs. The certification ceremony created a more open and transparent mechanism for identifying accredited companies.
The certificates of recognition by KRA have a unique identifying number. They are foreseen to encourage more companies to sign up for the programme. This will further enhance the implementation and advancement of the AEO scheme in Kenya.