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African Union Heads of Customs promote CBM support

29 September 2015

At the invitation of the African Union (AU), WCO Secretary General Mr. Kunio Mikuriya participated in a meeting of the AU Sub-Committee of Directors General (DGs) of Customs, held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on 24 and 25 September 2015.  DRC Customs DG Mr. Rugwiza Magera chaired the meeting, with the assistance of the AU Director of Trade and Industry Ms. Treasure Maphanga.

As the AU had chosen Coordinated Border Management (CBM) as the theme for the meeting, in line with the WCO theme for 2015, the Secretary General shared his thoughts about the global framework for, and the trend towards the CBM concept, which would bring stability and prosperity through Customs working at borders with other government agencies and with the private sector. 

In the AU context, he said that this concept had significance in terms of building a Continental Free Trade Area for Africa on the one hand, and strengthening border security in the African Continent on the other.  Representatives of the Regional Economic Communities, and several DGs, also spoke about their strategies and experiences in the field of CBM. 

The meeting came up with recommendations for the AU Commission, AU Member States and other stakeholders, aimed at ensuring facilitation and security for cross-border movements of goods and people, based on WCO standards. The participants also endorsed recommendations on Single Window, the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, and Interconnectivity, prepared during a 3-day experts meeting held immediately before the DGs meeting.

DRC Prime Minister Mr. Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon met with the DGs and confirmed his support for Customs modernization, emphasizing that State institutions such as Customs are essential in terms of supporting the proper functioning of a State. 

Secretary General Mikuriya reported on the outcomes of the AU Sub-Committee meeting, and expressed his appreciation of the support for the ongoing Customs reform process in DRC, as well as the warm hospitality extended to participants by the DRC and its Customs administration.

Mr. Mikuriya also seized the opportunity to pay a visit to the President of the DRC’s National Assembly, Mr. Aubin Minaku, to enlist his support for speeding up the ratification of the Revised Kyoto Convention.

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Photo (from left to right): DRC Customs DG Mr. Déo Rugwiza Magera, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya meeting with Mr. Aubin Minaku, President of the DRC’s National Assembly.