WCO successfully re-engages Afghanistan Customs Department

24 January 2017

Further to the diagnostic of the Afghanistan Customs Department (ACD), which took place in September 2016 at the WCO’s Regional Office for Capacity Building in Baku, Azerbaijan, the WCO engaged the administration in a unique exposure visit in collaboration with the Uganda Revenue Authority.  The URA is recognized as a regional leader in Customs modernization and reform and their 10 year reform journey offered an inspirational model for ACD leaders, who are embarking on a similar journey in a highly challenging security, political and economic environment. This innovative south-south collaboration was made possible with the generous financial support of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs of the United Kingdom under the auspices of the tailor-made track of the Mercator Programme.

Eight senior level representatives of the ACD had the opportunity to observe and interrogate many of the URA’s specific achievements, including electronic cargo tracking, compliance management, automation of procedures, Customs-business partnerships, authorized economic operators and regional information sharing arrangements.  They were also exposed to the URA’s unique management culture, which offered insights into questions of integrity, leadership, professional development and stakeholder relationships.

Uganda and Afghanistan share a number of key features, including similar populations, a similar landlocked geography and similar statuses as least-developed countries.  They also use the same Customs management system – ASCYUDA World – which enabled the sharing of relevant experiences.    Experience sharing between countries with such similarities offers the opportunity to identify realistic and constructive solutions, and to leverage developing world expertise.

Following the visit, a team of WCO experts visited Kabul, where they engaged with key stakeholders in the ACD and with leading development partners, including USAID, DFID and the World Bank.  The team had the opportunity to brief H. E. Ahmad Hakimi, Minister of Finance, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the results of the Baku diagnostic and the Uganda visit, and to propose a series of initiatives, leveraging WCO instruments and tools, which will support the challenging reform and modernization journey in Afghanistan. 

The WCO would like to express its sincere appreciation to the staff and management of the URA for showcasing the modernization and reform journey to counterparts from Afghanistan.  The WCO looks forward to facilitating further collaboration between Uganda and Afghanistan, while also supporting Afghanistan on its challenging reform and modernization journey.

Link: http://mof.gov.af/en/news/minister-of-finance-meets-world-customs-organization-wto-program-director