In November 2015, Customs officers from the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), Mozambique Revenue Authority (MRA) and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) along with an industry representative from Cameroon completed the MBA in Customs, offered by the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI) in collaboration with CCES. 50% of the curriculum is taught by ESAMI encompassing general management and accounting content while the balance covers customs, border management and international trade specific content followed by a research project on a customs specific subject matter. The MBA is delivered through a blended mode which includes face-to-face teaching sessions, online real time sessions using various tools, self-study and research.
The course commenced in late 2013 with ESAMI subjects, and in mid-2014, lecturers from CCES travelled to Kigali and Maputo to deliver the customs specific content. ZIMRA students joined sessions in Maputo. Students commenced their research work in February 2015, selecting a work-related issue in their own work environment. The research culminated in an 8,000 word thesis written by each student under the supervision of two CCES research supervisors. Students presented their theses from 2-10 November 2015 in Kigali (Rwanda), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Maputo (Mozambique) in the presence of a panel of examiners. The students were required to summarise their written thesis papers into a presentation which they then presented before the panellists comprising staff from both ESAMI and CCES. The presentations covered a wide array of topical subjects relevant to the customs administrations of the three countries. Subjects included Risk Management, Integrated Border Management, Capacity Building, Single Window, the Rebate Scheme, the regulation of border trade in medicines and medicinal products, Informed Compliance Initiatives for both taxpayers and traders, and other subjects.
“This is a unique course and I am very happy that I joined it. I am an experienced Customs officer but the knowledge I gathered through this course has been immense. The course has added great value and now I can think strategically and prepare myself for a role at the senior level in my administration” commented the class president from Mozambique Revenue Authority.
Adding to this sentiment, a student from ZIMRA said “Now I am confident that I am ready for career advancement. The content covered in the MBA has filled in many gaps that were in my store of knowledge regarding customs and border management. The thesis project was unique because I learnt how to logically analyse a work-related issue and develop solutions that can be implemented”.
A student from RRA said “18 of us completed the course. RRA also has six more officers who did their masters in Canberra as onshore students. So now RRA has 23 Customs officers with an in-depth knowledge of customs and border management. I am confident that this will greatly benefit RRA and the agency will get the return it expects from this type of investment in developing human resources”.
The group will graduate in December 2015.