A new Brussels-based African Customs Attachés Group visits the WCO

13 May 2014

A group of Brussels-based Customs Attachés from African countries met WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya on 9 May 2014 to announce the formation of an African Customs Attachés Group. This initiative was based on recognition of the WCO's indispensable assistance to African Customs in contributing to economic competitiveness through the improvement of border procedures, while protecting society from illicit trade, and collecting revenue. 

One of the driving forces for the modernization of Customs administrations in Africa is enhanced regional integration, including the African Union's aspiration to create a Continental Free-Trade Area and the progress with Regional Economic Communities at various sub-regional levels on the African continent. All regional integration strategies require that connectivity at borders be assured, with the application of global Customs standards. The WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation has further prompted Customs administrations to base their border procedures on WCO tools that are aimed at improving the transparency, efficiency and security of the international trade supply chain. 

The Group, represented by Togo and Swaziland, also includes Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Nigeria, Republic of Congo and South Africa. The Group is currently making a series of visits to African Ambassadors in Brussels to raise awareness of the Customs’ role in economic and social development and the importance of the WCO. Secretary General Mikuriya promised all necessary support for the Group, to raise the profile of Customs through high-level communication and the steady delivery of technical assistance and capacity building in Africa.