The Government of the Union of Comoros has set full installation and implementation of the Customs software, ASYCUDAWorld, as a priority for the Island nation’s regional integration program. The technical support is provided by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Further, Comoros has set milestones for full migration to the ASYCUDAWorld System by December, 2016 supported by COMESA Adjustment Facility’s Regional Integration Support Mechanism (CAF-RISM) Programme. The CAF/RISM is funded by the European Union (EU) under the 4th and 5th Calls for Application for technical support to member States.

Comoros Regional Integration Project Implementing Unit (PIU) Manager Mr. Mmadi Moindjie said the project which hopes to see the migration of Comoros to the ASYCUDA World automated customs system has been divided into three phases.

Speaking in Brussels, Belgium during the joint COMESA, UNCTAD, Comoros meeting held from 23-26th February, 2016 to finalize the project document, Mr. Moindijie said the first phase involves the installation of ASYCUDA World Software at the Comoros Customs Headquarters. “The second phase is the full operationalization of the ASYCUDA World System at a pilot location to be identified and thereafter, full integration into the newly-networked customs agencies and domestic transit operators”, he said.

COMESA Aid for Trade (COMAID) Coordinator Mrs. Hope Situmbeko and COMAID Project Manager Kervin Kumapley represented COMESA at the UNCTAD meeting in Brussels. Speaking during the closing meeting, UNCTAD ASYCUDA Programme Chief Fabrice Millet appreciated the continued collaboration between UNCTAD and COMESA particularly on the ASYCUDA system under the RISM Project.

Mr. Millet said while countries were working with UNCTAD bilaterally, the involvement of COMESA as a regional organization was important for coordination of activities at a regional level and harmonization of technical specifications of the ASYCUDA system for better interface between countries. Meanwhile, Mr. Millet introduced UNCTAD’s new ASYCUDA System for Performance Monitoring (ASYPM) for customs agencies providing useful data and information through indicators for trade between member countries at border posts.

Commenting on the ASYPM, Mrs. Situmbeko said the system provides an effective tool for assessing trade bottlenecks between member states adding that it would also contribute to developing monitoring frameworks for assessing impact and outcomes of regional integration.