Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL) host Women Custom Organizations (WCO) –Eastern Southern Africa (ESA) Region Dialogue

Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL) host Women Custom Organizations (WCO) –Eastern Southern Africa (ESA) Region Dialogue

Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL) host Women Custom Organizations (WCO) –Eastern Southern Africa (ESA) Region Dialogue

Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL) host Women Custom Organizations (WCO) –Eastern Southern Africa (ESA) Region Dialogue

The Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL) hosted the First High-Level  Women Custom Organizations (WCO) –Eastern Southern Africa (ESA) Gender Inclusivity  And  Diversity Policy  Dialogue in Maseru.

The dialogue theme is ‘Advancing Gender Inclusivity and Diversity in the ESA Region’.

Speaking at the event, RSL acting Commissioner General, Mrs. Mathabo  Mokoko said Lesotho is honoured and privileged to host the WCO-ESA region.

She noted that as customs officials, they are playing a huge role in their countries’ economies, saying the theme ‘Advancing Gender Inclusivity and Diversity in the ESA Region’ is a call for action as the work they do does not really have to carry gender stereotypes.

She stressed that WCO conducted a study in 2016, and it gathered roughly 60 replies from WCO Members, women make up approximately 36% of officers employed by Customs administrations, with figures ranging from 8% to 60% depending on the country.

“It is worth noting that the statistics reveal that women hold approximately 30% of top managerial positions on average. These numbers show that there is still room for improvement in terms of equitable representation in customs administrations,” she noted.

She said as RSL they are not far behind in addressing the gender gaps within the organisation, saying gender has become part of the RSL agenda and has gained momentum through the Customs Modernisation Programme (CMP) and the Lesotho Tax Modernisation Project (LTMP) where research and survey were undertaken, followed by the drafting of the Gender Strategy, Training, and The Gender Action plan.

She, therefore, urged the stakeholders to develop programs that will create an environment that advocates for inclusivity and diversity.

Also Speaking, WCO-ESA Vice Chair, Mr. Batsirayi Chadzingwa expressed gratitude to RSL for its warm welcome.

He said the ESA region remains cognisant of the crucial role of gender equality, diversity and inclusion in nurturing the next generation for greater economic development, fairness and contentment at work in both government and private sector.

He said this important forum is envisioned as the first of a series of engagements on the topic with a focus on the region and will result in the drafting of a regional trade policy/action plan with a Gender Inclusivity and Diversity (GID) perspective, which is aimed at overcoming gender, inclusion and diversity inequalities by opening new opportunities for employment and prosperity.

He noted that modern Organizations in both the public and private sectors need to have GEDI policies to prepare themselves for the future, saying a number of initiatives can be implemented through clear gender action plans to ensure gender equality in the workplace and society in general.

On the same token, the Principal Regional Advisor Regional Integration and Trade Division of the United Nations Economic Commission For Africa, Ms. Brendah Phiri-Mundia said the UN 2030 Agenda makes it clear that there can be no sustainable development without gender equality, noting that actualising the objectives of SDG 5 on gender equality and women empowerment demands our collective action.

She stressed that, despite the levels of inequality and vulnerability, Africa currently accounts for the largest share of the world’s poverty, at 54.8 % in 2022, overtaking South Asia with 37.6%, saying it is further estimated that 149 million or about 10% of Africa’s population remain at high risk of falling into poverty.

She noted that women and girls remain particularly vulnerable, and they are facing a potential reversal of the hard-won gains on gender equity.

The World Customs Organization (WCO) began its work to promote gender equality and diversity in customs in 2013.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Lesotho.