Short Term IT Expert (Individual Consultant) for Implementation of the COMESA Electronic Certificate of Origin

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, COMESA is a regional economic body comprising 21 Member Countries. COMESA’s current strategy can be summed up in the phrase “economic prosperity through regional integration”. With a population of over 540 million and global trade in goods worth more than US$ 235 billion, COMESA forms a major marketplace for both internal and external trading.

Background

The COMESA Secretariat has designed a Trade Facilitation Programme under the EDF 11 Programme which aims at removal of non-tariff barriers (NTBs), lowering of trading costs at borders, improving trade infrastructure and automation of customs and transit systems. The actions planned under this Programme specifically complement COMESA’s plans to be a single trade and investment area in which tariffs, NTBs and other impediments to the movement of goods, services, capital and people will be removed. The general objective of the Programme is to contribute to deepening regional integration, improving inclusive regional economic growth and enhancing the competitiveness of the COMESA region. The specific objectives include: to increase intra-regional trade flows of goods, persons and services by reducing the costs/delays of imports/exports by reducing NTBs across the borders, implementing the WTO TFA and COMESA Digital FTA Action Plan including the electronic certificate of origin (eCO), improving the coordinated border management (CBM) and trade and transport facilitation, liberalizing the trade in services and movement of persons and supporting trade negotiations and trade promotion activities in the region.

The manual procedures of certificate of origin is among the main challenges of trade facilitation identified by several studies in the COMESA region. This is not only bureaucratic but also costly to exporters, importers and clearing agents in facilitating intra-regional trade. As a result, developing and implementing the electronic certification origin (eCO) system was recommended to address these challenges and increase intra-regional trade flows of goods by reducing the costs/delays of imports/exports at border posts.

The COMESA Secretariat has developed a web-based eCO system to eventually replace the manual certificate of origin currently in use by the Member States. The prototype of the System was presented to Member States at various technical meetings organized by the Secretariat and the Member States indicated their readiness to pilot and implement the system. In addition, Regulations for Implementation of the eCO system was developed by the Secretariat which was then adopted by the 40th Council of Ministers in November 2019. Further, in light of the Council decisions, the activities planned to implement the eCO system include: the Secretariat to undertake situational assessments on eCO; develop capacity building and awareness programmes to enhance the capacity of the Member States; and piloting and rolling out the eCO system either directly or through interfacing or integrating with existing eCO systems or Customs Management Systems in all Member States.

In order to achieve the above mentioned plan, as part of the Result Area 3 of Trade Facilitation Programme under EDF 11, the Secretariat will need to contract one (1) Professional IT Expert for six (6) Months to assist in the areas of developing and implementing the eCO system in the region.  the IT expert is expected to have proven extensive knowledge and previous experience in COMESA Protocol on Rules of Origin, Implementation Manuals and Guidelines of COMESA RoO, eCO system, Customs Automated Management Systems and interfacing/integrating with other systems, e-signature, digital signature, and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), development and deployment of mobile applications and other related areas.

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Post expires at 4:00pm on Thursday August 27th, 2020

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