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First steps successfully taken towards a regional risk management strategy for West and Central Africa (WCA)

17 March 2017

The World Customs Organization (WCO), with the support of Japan Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF Japan), organized a regional workshop to set up a Regional Risk Management Strategy and Policy for the WCO West and Central Africa region (WCA).

The workshop took place 20th – 24th February 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria, with the participation of 18 of the region’s 23 Members. Officials responsible for Customs risk management on strategic and operational levels attended the workshop, as did RILO West Africa, RILO Central Africa, and observers from CEMAC and ECOWAS.

The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA) entered into force during the workshop. This occasion was duly noted and shone an extra light on the importance of risk management as a necessary prerequisite for trade facilitation, which was also emphasized by the Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali in his welcoming speech.

WCO presentations and exercises on Customs risk management started off the workshop. The two RILOs explained the important role of their network for Customs intelligence-driven risk management and international cooperation. Three Members – Nigeria, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo – presented their national risk management structures, challenges and developments.

The opportunity to meet and engage in intensive debate and sharing of ideas, experiences and views, together with strong commitment and drive, enabled participants to develop and approve three working documents:

  • a draft risk register of regional risks for the WCA;
  • a working document for a draft regional risk management policy and strategy; and
  • a draft strategic risk management action plan.

Finally, a coordinating team was set up, tasked with preparing these outputs for presentation at the 22nd WCA Director Generals’ conference due in April 2017.