Enhanced regional cooperation in West and Central Africa endorsed

14 March 2011

Enhanced regional cooperation in West and Central Africa endorsed

Kinshasa, 10-11 March 2011


At the invitation of the Vice-Chair for the WCO West and Central Africa region, WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, participated in the regional meeting of Customs Directors General held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on 10 and 11 March 2011.

At the opening ceremony, the Vice Prime Minister of the DRC, Mr. Simon Bulupi Galati, addressed the assembled delegations, and the Director General of DRC Customs and Excise, Mr. Déo Rugwiza Magera, presented the work accomplished on Customs modernization in the DRC.

The two-day meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Daniel Manassah Jatau, Deputy Director General of Nigeria Customs Service, and by Mr. Rugwiza Magera. In the course of the meeting, the Heads of Delegation discussed a wide range of topics and, in particular, shared experience on risk management and information exchange between Customs administrations. Emphasis was placed on the implementation of the WTO Agreement on Customs Valuation and on the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention.

The Heads of Delegation adopted 13 recommendations, including one covering the financing of regional structures. They agreed that, with effect from July 2011, the DRC and Liberia would be the new Policy Commission members from the region. They also approved a proposal that a third Regional Training Centre (RTC) for the West and Central Africa region be established in Nigeria.

Delegations also met with the Vice Prime Minister and with the Minister of Finance of the DRC. Secretary General Mikuriya took the opportunity to stress the importance of political leaders' understanding and support for Customs reform. The Ministers assured him of the political commitment to accompany Customs in improving its functions at national and regional levels.

On 12 March, the delegations crossed the Congo River and attended the official opening of the WCO Regional Training Centre in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

On their return to the DRC, they visited a sanctuary for one of the Great Ape species, the bonobo, to see the measures being taken to protect and conserve this endangered species.