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First Meeting of Capacity Building Contact Points for the WCO’s West and Central Africa Region

20 October 2009
First Meeting of Capacity Building Contact Points for the WCO’s West and Central Africa Region
WCO Regional Workshop on Customs Modernization and Capacity Building
October 2009

With a view to implementing the regional development strategy for West and Central Africa, the First Meeting of Capacity Building Contact Points was held in Abidjan from 6 to 9 October 2009. Under the auspices of the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB), this Meeting was aimed at familiarizing representatives of the region’s Customs administrations with Customs modernization concepts and best practices developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) as part of its Capacity Building Programme.

This First Meeting of Contact Points, conducted in close collaboration with the ROCB, served to establish a network of interested professionals who will promote the WCO capacity building strategy and regional development priorities. The role played by this network of contact points will focus essentially on communication, promotion and monitoring the various modernization initiatives already in operation within the region’s Customs administrations. The launch of this network signifies a major stride forward in the regionalization of WCO capacity building programmes in West and Central Africa.

During the course of the Workshop, participants were afforded an opportunity to hold discussions and share views on issues like the planning and execution of a Customs modernization process, the importance of political support in terms of consolidating sustainable development, as well as central questions such as human resource management, the implementation of WCO instruments and strategic management.

In the margins of this meeting, and in the interests of facilitating rapprochement with the region’s private sector, the ROCB signed a Memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the African Industrial Association (AIA). This MOU will concentrate on implementing initiatives to combat counterfeiting through joint training and awareness-raising activities. It acknowledges the key part that Customs can play in fighting this harmful phenomenon, and advocates more active co-operation between the different players in the Customs sector.

The WCO and the ROCB are planning a great many activities in the West and Central Africa region over the coming months. The Secretariat welcomes the burgeoning efforts to work towards the development and modernization of the region’s administrations.