Egyptian Customs reform embedded in Regional Training Centre

04 November 2010

Egyptian Customs reform embedded in Regional Training Centre

Cairo, 3 November 2010


At the invitation of Director General Ahmad Seoudi of the Egyptian Customs Authority, WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, visited the National Customs Institute in Alexandria – the biggest port in Egypt – on 3 November 2010 during the WCO week of Technology and Innovation. The Institute was nominated as a WCO Regional Training Centre during the 2008 sessions of the WCO Council.

Speaking at the WCO Technology & Innovation Forum in Cairo on 2 November 2010, Minister of Finance Youssef Boutros-Ghali explained that he had started a Customs reform programme in Egypt in 2005 based on three pillars: human resources, legislation and technology. The Customs Institute is therefore one of the key components of reform as improving human resources while supporting the other two elements, namely, modern legislation based on the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention which incorporates a partnership with business, and the use of technology.

The Institute is equipped with modern technology and Customs managers receive training that encourages them to embrace technology and a culture of innovation to improve service. Enhancing cooperation with universities is another feature. The institute is financially supported by three donors, namely Switzerland, the EU and the US, in a well-coordinated way. As a Regional Training Centre it also offers training courses for officers from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

At the Institute, Director General Seoudi organized an interactive session for Secretary General Mikuriya with senior Customs officers and business representatives, which included link ups with branches of the Institute by video conference. A representative of the business community testified that while business was seen as an enemy by Customs 10 years ago, nowadays Customs responded to the needs of business needs and fully consulted them on new legislation. This progress in the Customs-Business partnership has resulted in continuous improvement in business’ perception of Customs and is reflected in the World Bank Doing Business Report where Egypt is ranked 21 this year in trading across borders; progressing from its 29th ranking last year. The Secretary General also participated in the closing session of a scanning technology event for officers from the MENA region.

Mr. Mikuriya appreciated the Institute’s assistance to the MENA region which was a good example of donor coordination and wished the continuous improvement of the Institute and its contribution to professional, knowledge-based Customs, embracing a partnership with business and technology.