World custom body urges Kenya to leverage tech to spur regional trade hub

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NAIROBI, Feb.3 (Xinhua) -- The World Customs Organization (WCO) on Monday urged Kenya to leverage on modern technology in order to boost its status as a regional trading hub.

WCO Secretary-General Kunio Mikuriya told journalists in Nairobi that a number of landlocked countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan depend on Kenya's port of Mombasa for their international trade.

"Kenya will become an attractive gateway for east and central Africa by adopting the use of technology to reduce transit time for cargo passing through its port of Mombasa into the hinterland," Mikuriya said during a visit to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)'s integrated electronic command center for cargo.

The WCO is currently promoting non-intrusive x-ray cargo scanning system, a smart border technology in order to facilitate trade among countries.

Mikuriya said the ultramodern scanners and the regional electronic cargo tracking system (RECTS) have enhanced cargo security and safety at key points of entry as well improved the turnaround time for cargo clearance.

He said the use of the scanners has reduced the need for the cumbersome physical inspection at the points of entry.

Mikuriya noted that efficient customs operations will also be a major driving force for the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Kevin Safari, KRA's commissioner for customs and border control, said that Kenya has invested heavily in technology in order to reduce cargo clearance time by eliminating need for physical verification of all imports and exports.

Safari said the regional electronic cargo tracking system which brings together Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda ensures real-time monitoring of transit cargo to curb import tax evasion through diversion of cargo. Enditem

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