WCO supports Members in the development of common data standards for transit interconnectivity in West and Central Africa

30 October 2017

In the framework of the Swedish-funded WCO-WACAM project’s efforts to support regional cooperation in the ECOWAS region, the WCO held a regional workshop on the WCO Data Model from 9 to 13 October in Lomé, Togo. The objective of the Workshop was to assist Members in the sub-region to finalize the development of common data standards for transit interconnectivity.

The Workshop, organized by WCO officials and facilitated by a WCO DM expert from the Netherlands Customs Administration, was attended by 20 IT experts representing the Customs Administrations of Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Togo. During the Workshop, with support from expert facilitators, the participants validated the mapping of existing transit data requirements to the WCO DM.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Harouna Ouedraogo, The Deputy Director of Technical Assistant and Training in Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), noted the importance of using the WCO DM to develop common data standards enabling interoperability between Members within the context of transit interconnectivity. The WCO expressed its view that although many of the region’s Customs administrations use ASYCUDA as their core automated Customs system, the WCO DM Model is a platform-agnostic data framework enabling a variety of systems to interoperate.

The Workshop facilitators guided the participants through the use of the WCO DM INTERGOV (Intergovernmental) Information Package as the basis for developing electronic message standards to be used for facilitating communication between Customs offices involved in transit procedures, such as the Customs office of departure, Customs office of transit and Customs office of destination.

The need to introduce a concept for exchanging non-transactional data, such as Customs office codes or holiday lists, was identified. Bearing in mind the unique characteristics of such information, the facilitators suggested that a new structure be created within the WCO DM to accommodate this requirement.

The Workshop identified several changes to be made to the current WCO DM to accommodate system prerequisites. Draft Data Maintenance Requests (DMR) were consequently prepared, to be submitted for consideration by the Data Model Projects Team (DMPT).