Using the momentum for Customs Capacity Building in the MENA region

24 May 2013

The WCO, together with the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) and Kuwait Customs, organized a regional Awareness Raising Workshop on Capacity Building in Kuwait City on 14-16 April 2013. The Workshop showed huge commitment from the region to reform and modernization as well as to strengthening the capacities of Customs administrations in the MENA region to be able to lead and effectively manage their own development processes.

More than 50 participants from 12 MENA region Members attended the workshop, among them a high number of senior officers managing Capacity Building and modernization activities in their respective home countries. A representative from the ROCB for the MENA Region as well as Customs officers interested in later on contributing as experts or facilitators to WCO Capacity Building activities delivery also attended the workshop.

The Workshop, opened by the Director General of Kuwait Customs, Mr. Ibrahim Al Ghanim and the WCO Deputy Director for Capacity Building, Ms. Heike Barczyk, was interactive and based on countries’ experiences. Participants shared examples and case studies of their respective modernization processes. The Workshop served to provide the participants with a broader understanding of the context in which Customs administrations work today and the methods, instruments and tools employed by the WCO to support its Members. It also enabled participants to discuss the principles of ownership of reform, holistic and integrated organizational development and the need to invest in people development as guiding principles and prerequisites for a successful modernization process.

Participants also recognized the urgent need for Members to nominate National Contact Points towards the ROCB to allow for even better co-ordination of Capacity Building efforts in the MENA region. Following this workshop in Kuwait, a meeting of the ROCB with its National Contact Points in Abu Dhabi in May as well as a regional Customs Modernization Advisors accreditation workshop for Arab-speaking Customs officers later this year are the next steps on regional level to make best use of the current momentum.