WCO Regional Meeting for West and Central Africa

17 March 2010

WCO Regional Meeting for West and Central Africa

Bamako (Mali), 11-12 March 2010


The 15th Conference of the Directors General of Customs of the WCO’s West and Central Africa region was held in Bamako (Mali) on 11 and 12 March 2010 under the co-chairmanship of the Regional Vice-Chair, Mr. Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé, Director General of Senegalese Customs, and Mr. Amadou Togola, Director General of Mali Customs. Seventeen Customs administrations were represented, together with three regional organizations. The Prime Minister of Mali, Mr. Modibo Sidibé, presided over the opening ceremony, which was also attended by Mr. Sanoussi Touré, the Minister of the Economy and Finance.

The Conference covered a wide range of Customs topics of special interest to the region, with particular focus on: protection of intellectual property rights (IPR); Customs modernization and capacity building; exchange of information, above all in the enforcement field; and the Customs-Business partnership in respect of which presentations were made by Cameroon and Senegal. The Secretary General of the WCO provided an overview of the outcomes of the December 2009 Policy Commission Session and updated delegates on developments since that meeting. He also presented the Customs Enforcement Network (CEN) and its derived applications - particularly nCEN - as well as the WCO Data Model.

Specific outcomes of the Conference included: agreement to establish a second WCO Regional Training Centre for the region in Brazzaville (Republic of Congo); agreement that a WCO-organized regional revenue package workshop would be held in Togo in the last week of May 2010; agreement that Nigeria would be the next Regional Vice-Chair, to take up office after the June 2010 Council Sessions; and acceptance of the offer by the Democratic Republic of Congo to host the 16th Conference of the Directors General in Spring 2011.

Gratitude was expressed to the Director General of Mali Customs and his officers, as well as the Mali Government, for the excellent organization of the Conference.

A full report on the Conference will be prepared by the Vice-Chair and made available in due course.

During his visit to Bamako, the Secretary General met with President Amadou Tomani Touré of the Republic of Mali, Prime Minister Modibo Sidibé and a number of State Ministers: the Minister of the Economy and Finance; the Minister of Territorial Administration and Local Authorities; the Minister of Industry, Investment and Trade; the Minister of Internal Security and Civil Protection; and the Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Economy and Finance with responsibility for the Budget.

In the course of these meetings, Mr. Mikuriya emphasized the importance of the role of Customs in facilitating legitimate trade; an essential driver of the national economy.

Mr. Mikuriya also held meetings with high-ranking Customs officials, including Director General Togola. Together with several Directors General from the region Mr. Mikuriya had an opportunity to visit the Railway Customs facilities in Bamako where he was able to view the automated paperless Customs system linked to the port of Dakar in Senegal, as well as a mobile scanner used for checking rail freight.