Botswana Customs chairs the 5th Regional Meeting of nCEN Programme Leaders for East and Southern Africa

20 November 2020

On 9 November 2020, representatives of all nCEN countries from East and Southern Africa attended the 5th Regional Meeting of nCEN Programme Leaders for East and Southern Africa (ESA). This virtual Meeting was organized and chaired by Mr. Philiso Phodiso Valashia, Commissioner of Customs, Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS), in his capacity as Vice-Chair of the region.

In addition to representatives from all the ESA nCEN countries, the Meeting was attended by representatives from the WCO Secretariat and the ESA Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO).

In his introductory remarks to the Meeting, Commissioner Phodiso Valashia, pointed out that the high level of participation in the Meeting by countries from across the WCO ESA region clearly showed the strong interest of WCO Member administrations in collaborating on Customs enforcement matters. He also underlined the importance of modernization and digitalization, and encouraged all Customs administrations in the region to embed nCEN in their respective strategic and business plans, thus placing use of nCEN on the executive management score card. In its role as the region’s Vice-Chair, Botswana Customs also assured Members of its full commitment to supporting the Regional Meeting of nCEN Programme Leaders and collaborating on building Customs capacities in terms of tools and qualified human resources.

During the Meeting, the nCEN Programme Leaders discussed matters relating to use of nCEN, as well as exchanging ideas for the application’s improvement. The WCO Secretariat presented the new version of application 3.3.0 released in November 2020, which included some valid changes to the way fauna/flora and cultural heritage seizures were reported in the new system.

 Furthermore, in an effort to facilitate the upgrading process and boost the application’s sustainability, a fully automated upgrading process had been integrated that would no longer require human intervention. The new version received positive feedback from the nCEN Programme Leaders. They welcomed the automated upgrading feature, which would enable all countries to benefit fully from the new functionality enhancements straight after this new version’s release.

The Meeting concluded with the election of Burundi as Regional nCEN Programme Leader. Burundi assumed responsibility for sharing ESA’s perspective within the wider Global nCEN Network.