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WCO Workshop on the Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP) for the Organization’s West and Central Africa (WCA) Region

20 March 2014

In co-operation with the Directorate General of Cameroon Customs and the Vice-Chair of the WCA Region, the WCO held a Workshop on the ECP for the WCA Region on 12 March 2014 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. This Workshop was held on the fringes of the 19th Regional Conference of Directors General of Customs. During his speech at the opening session, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, who is also Vice-Chair for the WCA Region, stressed that the WCO would develop new tools or instruments based on WCO Members’ needs and experiences as regards economic competitiveness. He further reminded participants (comprising Directors General and experts from Customs administrations) that the Workshop’s aim was to facilitate an exchange of strategic views to enhance economic competitiveness at the regional level.

The Workshop began with a presentation by the WCO Secretariat on the ECP and its relationship to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation (ATF). During the course of the Workshop, participants attended a panel discussion that afforded the Customs administrations of Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal an opportunity to present their respective experience of carrying out a project to modernize and reform an administration, of interconnection and of implementing the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC). By way of transition, the Secretariat also delivered a presentation on the Time Release Study (TRS) Guide. That presentation served as a segue into the afternoon panel on performance measurement. During this second panel discussion, participants enjoyed a WCO Secretariat presentation introducing the performance measurement projects put forward by the Customs Administrations of Cameroon, Togo and Liberia.

Bearing in mind the realities of the WCA Region, the Workshop participants exchanged views on the various presentations given by the different administrations in order to share their experiences. They also discussed potential regional activities, such as sharing innovative practices and holding workshops or sub-regional seminars on a specific theme. The discussions showed that the aspects relating to informal trade, partnership with the private sector, performance measurement and transit facilitation could be treated as priorities for this region. The outcomes of this Workshop will form a sound basis for the development of a regional strategy for the WCA Region.