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WCO and ECOWAS agree to enhance Customs capacity in West Africa

21 febrero 2011

WCO and ECOWAS agree to enhance Customs capacity in West Africa

Abuja, 18 February 2011


WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, and President of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Ambassador James Victor Gbeho, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at ECOWAS' headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria on 18 February 2011 to enhance the capacity of Customs administrations in West Africa to deliver more efficiently on their statutory functions and thus contribute to economic growth and development in the region.

The two organizations agreed to actively promote the modernization of Customs administrations in the ECOWAS region through the adoption and implementation of WCO instruments and programmes.They also agreed on regular dialogue between the two parties and coordination of training activities.

"The signing of this MoU is significant for the WCO as it is one of the Organization's highest priorities to support capacity building in Africa's Customs administrations in close cooperation with regional economic groups," Secretary General Mikuriya emphasized, "because in order to ensure regional integration as a building block of the global trading system, it is imperative to enhance the connectivity of Customs outside the region by adopting global Customs standards incorporated in WCO tools."

President Gbeho stressed ECOWAS’ recognition of the critical role of Customs as an institution to help actualize the dream of a common market.As one example, he would ensure that the region migrates to the 2012 version of the Harmonized System Nomenclature from the 2007 version on which negotiations on the Common External Tariff are based.

ECOWAS is a regional group of 15 countries founded in 1975 with the mission to promote economic integration in all fields of economic activity, particularly industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, and social and cultural matters.

Click here to read the ECOWAS Press Release