5th Steering Committee Meeting of the Finnish-funded ESA Capacity Building Project

20 February 2014

Swakopmund, Namibia, 11 – 13 February 2014

Upon invitation of Mr. Bevan Simataa, Commissioner of Namibian Customs and Excise, the 5th Steering Committee (SC) Meeting of the Finnish-funded WCO Project "Building Trade Capacity through Customs Modernization in the East and Southern Africa (ESA) Region" took place in Swakopmund, Namibia, from 11 to 13 February 2013. Members of the Project SC are Malawi, South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finnish Customs and the WCO Secretariat.

The Project started in September 2011 and focuses on support in 5 key Project components in support of the WCO ESA Region: Leadership and Management Development, nCEN implementation and use, Coordinated Border Management, support to the ESA ROCB and country-specific support for Namibia.

The 5th SC Meeting welcomed the progress made so far in all Project components in the Region, approved the Project Financial Report for the period October 2012 to September 2013 and agreed on the Project Work Plan for the period October 2013 to September 2014. On the latter, it was in addition to the ongoing activities within the 5 components agreed to make funds available from the Project budget for Integrity-related support activities upon request by Members and for a Regional Workshop on Project Management and Resource Mobilization.

The SC meeting also discussed an external mid-term evaluation of the Project that had recently been initiated by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and, given that still many useful Project activities are to be carried out, tasked the WCO Secretariat to look into Project extension possibilities with the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs beyond the current end date of the Project in September 2014.

For the first time, the SC had invited South Sudan Customs as an observer to the meeting who provided a report on the situation of the administration, as well as information on the recently-conducted WCO Diagnostic Mission. As a next step in support of South Sudan Customs, the SC endorsed a proposal to finance a Strategic Planning Mission to South Sudan out of the Project budget.

The SC members eventually had the opportunity to visit Walvis Bay Port and gain personal impressions on the spot of the envisaged port enlargement as well as of the ongoing co-operation of Namibian Customs with the Port Authority Namport.

The next meeting of the SC will take place in the margins of the WCO Council Sessions in Brussels in June 2014.

For further information on the Project, please feel free to contact the Project Manager at the ROCB in Nairobi, Ms. Riitta Passi (riitta.passi@gmail.com), or the WCO Capacity Building Directorate in Brussels (capacity.building@wcoomd.org).