Customs and Trade In the first decade of its existence, ATAF strongly established itself as the leading continental organization providing cooperation, standard setting, technical assistance and research for tax administrations and policymakers across Africa. A key driver of ATAF’s success was its ability to continuously provide support to its members in a constantly evolving environment. One of the new main changes is the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA, one of the flagship projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, is a game-changing initiative that can transform African economies and the welfare of the people. It also has significant implications for countries’ international trade, investment, customs, taxation and revenue.

This resonates with ATAF’s vision of improving the living standards of African people through effective and efficient tax systems. The AfCFTA also coincides with the commencement of “ATAF in the new decade” project, which seeks to revisit the organisation’s strategic orientation and modus operandi to adapt to the new challenges affecting revenue administrations in Africa. This includes broadening of scope of ATAF’s work to tax policy and tax-related issues arising from customs and trade. This intersection necessitated the establishment of the Customs and Trade department within ATAF. This department is cognizant of the fact that as African countries implement the AfCFTA, they will have to navigate several challenges ranging from decline in customs revenue, proliferation of trade-based money laundering and IFFs, taxation, Customs and tax harmonisation.

As such, ATAF will have to effectively and efficiently support its members in their responses to these challenges. Customs and Trade focuses on; the impact of the AfCFTA on tax, customs and international trade; implications of the AfCFTA on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) through Trade Mis invoicing and other trade-based money laundering avenues and how ATAF can provide support to Customs divisions of its members.

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