The WCO organized a Customs Modernization forum for Member administrations in the WCO ESA region from 28 to 30 January 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. The forum was well attended by all 24 Customs administrations in the region, represented by some Heads of Administrations and senior managers in charge of customs modernization programs with a common objective to share knowledge and experiences along the path of modernization.
The three-day event provided a platform for presentations on country case studies in Customs modernization interspersed with discussions amongst members. Thus the success stories, challenges and lessons learned from the modernization program of each Member administration was shared and discussed to deepen pragmatic understanding of the modernization process within the region.
Also attending were officials from the SACU and EAC Secretariats, ESA ROCB, the African Development Bank, Finnish Foreign Ministry and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). In his opening comment the WCO Director for Capacity Building hailed the full attendance as a record breaking and expressed optimism in the impact that the forum could have on modernization drive in the ESA region.
The forum formed part of activities earmarked under the WCO-DFID-SARS collaborative project to strengthen Customs systems in the ESA region. As a major outcome of the forum, the Capacity Building Directorate will be publishing a Handbook of Case Studies on Customs Modernization in the ESA region.