WCO virtual Workshop to support The Gambia’s process of accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention

24 June 2021

As The Gambia is strongly considering its accession to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention), the World Customs Organization (WCO) delivered a high-level Workshop on the process and benefits of accession to this important Convention for the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) and all relevant ministries and agencies.

The Workshop was delivered virtually on 21 and 22 June 2021 with the support of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)-WCO-United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Trade Facilitation Capacity Building Programme in close collaboration with the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA). The Workshop was attended by high ranking officials from the Office of the President of the Republic; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation & Gambians Abroad; the Ministry of Justice; the Office of the Clerk of National Assembly; the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs; the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment; Gambia Ports Authority and the Association of Clearing and Forwarding Agents.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Yankuba Darboe, the Commissioner General of the GRA recognized the presence of various government departments and stakeholders at the workshop. Expressing resolve to accede to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), which had been delayed due to disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Darboe remained hopeful that the virtual workshop, as one of the means to fast-track the accession process, would yield positive results.

The main objective of the workshop was to provide a clear understanding of the rules and provisions of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC). This includes, among others, the scope, structure and other background information on the RKC; the benefits of accession to, and implementation of the RKC; the rights and obligations of Contracting parties as well as the specific steps needed for the accession.

The WCO experts provided detailed guidance on the principles of the RKC, the rights and obligations of the Contracting Parties to the Convention, as well as the provisions of the Body, the General Annex and the Specific Annexes thereof. With the support of WCO experts, it is envisaged that The Gambia will finalize the assessment of their compliance with the provisions of the RKC vis-à-vis the Gambia’s national legislation. As part of the exercise, follow-up measures will be outlined in the areas where national legislation is found not to be in full compliance with RKC provisions, bearing in mind that, according to the Convention, any Contracting party has three years within which to implement the Standards and Recommended practices included in accepted Specific Annexes and five years within which to implement the Transitional Standards.

At the end of the two-day Workshop, the WCO experts expressed their appreciation and reiterated the readiness of the WCO to support The Gambia in their accession journey. At the same time, the participants expressed their satisfaction and highlighted the relevance and timeliness of the Workshop in the light of the process of their country’s accession to Revised Kyoto Convention.

In her closing remarks, Professor Jainaba M.L. Kah, Director General, Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery (DSPD), from the Office of the President of the Republic expressed her appreciation to the WCO for the successful delivery of the Workshop and confirmed the political will and support from the Presidency for The Gambia’s accession to the RKC.