The WCO participated in a regional ECOWAS workshop on the topic of “Capacity building of women small scale cross border traders” in Abuja, Nigeria on the 29 to 30 of October 2019. The workshop was jointly funded by ECOWAS and the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ). Around 40 delegates from the 15 ECOWAS Member states, as well as representatives from women trader associations and other civil society organizations working at the borders, including Borderless and ENDA CACID participated in the meeting.
The workshop included presentations on the ECOWAS instruments including its Customs Code, as well as presentations from civil society organizations working at the border, who provided an overview of the current situation and the particular challenges faced by women cross border traders. The WCO also had an opportunity to present its work on gender equality and diversity, in particular the WCO Gender Equality Organizational Assessment Tool (GEOAT), the Virtual Working Group on Gender Equality and Diversity and the newly developed Blended Training Package on advancing gender equality in customs. The WCO also shared two examples of good practices from Mali Customs and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
Participants showed great interest in the work of the WCO as well as in the URA efforts to support women cross border traders. The workshop concluded with the drafting of an action plan, “Small scale women cross border traders 2020”, outlining the next steps for the ECOWAS to advance this agenda. The WCO would like to express its sincere appreciation to the ECOWAS for the opportunity to participate in this workshop and looks forward to continue its collaboration with them on this important topic.