The East Africa Customs and Freight Forwarding Practicing Certificate (EACFFPC) – RWAFFA fraternity held their 3rd graduation ceremony at hotel Nobleza on the outskirts of Kigali city on Friday 22nd September 2017.
The graduation ceremony was attended by high-profile individuals from the government institutions and stakeholders in the freight forwarding sector including The Commissioner for Customs Rwanda Revenue Authority who was also the chief guest, the chairman RWAFFA, Executive Director FEAFFA, the chairperson Rwanda Shippers Council, the head of the RRA training school, the chairperson CIC, the National Coordinator of the Northern Corridor Infrastructure Projects and EACFFPC trainers just to mention but a few.
The graduates could not hide their joy after completing a fairly rigorous training that saw them acknowledged as among the few professionals qualified to handle matters of cargo clearing and forwarding within the East African region.
While giving a vote of thanks on behalf of his fellow graduates, Mr Emanuel Gatsinzi, thanked RWAFFA and RRA for the support offered to the program through the establishment of a training center and providing professionally qualified trainers. He acknowledged the role played by FEAFFA the regional umbrella body whose main goal is to ensure the clearing and forwarding industry is fully professionalized so as to facilitate trade and regional economic growth.
Mr. Gatsinzi further noted that the skills provided will be useful in making the recently signed EAC single customs territory a success.
He further congratulated fellow graduates for the milestone and encouraged them to appropriately apply the knowledge they had gained to further their success.
“Wherever your future takes you, let it take you somewhere with your knowledge as an elderly supporting stick. Life is a journey, and all accomplishments we achieve during its course should be taken as starting point for further achievements. Our graduation should serve as such a launching point, projecting us to achieve what our future dreams have been.” Added Emmanuel, amid cheers from the other graduates.
In his concluding remarks, Mr Emmanuel, on behalf of all the graduates, requested that the program is extended to diploma level, a thought that was widely shared by a majority of students as part of the feedback given to trainers as the training concluded. This, according to the students, will keep them growing in knowledge hence improved professionalism and service delivery.
Speaking during the same ceremony, the RRA Commissioner of customs challenged the graduates to exhibit a difference in their ways of work now that they had joined Industry professionals. He further challenged the graduates to take up opportunities available in other EAC countries now that they had been empowered with the requisite skills to operate anywhere within the EAC region.
The chairman RWAFFA took the maiden opportunity to sensitize the EACFFPC graduates on the upcoming developments in further promoting industry professionalism among them the development of a national law on management and practice of customs agents and freight forwarders in Rwanda. He encouraged them to prepare to be part of a group operating professionally just like other recognized professions such as lawyers and accountants through a board to be established in near future.
The FEAFFA executive director encouraged the graduates to enrol as professionals through their association RWAFFA so that their names can be included in the roll of professionals in the region even as the industry works on establishing legally backed registration system. He further added that plans were underway to restructure the EACFFPC program to introduce a diploma and other higher levels to ensure there is sufficient room for career progression.
The 208 EACFFPC students graduated bringing the total number of graduates in Rwanda to 508. At the regional level, close to 6000 people have gone through the EACFFPC training program. Rwanda is one of the countries where the training program has been very successful since its introduction in 2008. EACFFPC is a premier regional training program jointly implemented by the freight forwarding industry and the revenue authorities in the respective countries with the aim of equipping customs agents and freight forwarders with requisite skills and competencies in the industry.
Guests during RWAFFA Graduation Ceremony in Kigali