WCO Secretary General participates in research conference for ESA region on the role of Customs and trade

25 November 2021

On 23 November 2024, at the invitation of the East and Southern Africa Regional Office for Capacity Building (ESA ROCB), the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya attended the 3rd ESA Regional Research Conference, held virtually. The Conference co-organized by the ESA ROCB and the Regional Training Centre (RTC) in Mauritius, focused on the effect of emerging issues on Customs and Trade.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Mikuriya shared the desire of the customs community, as depicted in the environmental scan carried out by the WCO earlier this year, to become trusted government advisers on trade and tax matters, through the use of evidence-based information collected by customs administrations. In this regard, he made the correlation between the post-pandemic recovery process and the need for further Customs digitalization to strengthen the supply chain. He further expounded on the digital transformation of customs with heightened automation and interoperability as well as data analytics covering data collection, security and usage.

Secretary General Mikuriya invited Customs administrations to explore the potential of data for research on customs and to invest in the development of human resource capabilities to create value from the data collected. He advocated for closer collaboration between the WCO and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat as well as other Regional Economic communities in view of the vital role of Customs in the creation of a single market in Africa. He concluded that the WCO PICARD Conference for Research, which will be held on 9 and 10 December 2021, will generate discussions about the future of Customs and invited Customs administrations, academia and the private sector to register and share their experience.

The Conference saw a high-level intervention from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mauritius, as well as the active participation of several heads of Customs administrations from Eswatini, Madagascar, Mauritius, Uganda, and Zambia, and representatives of the Private sector.

The WCO ESA ROCB launched the ESA Regional Research Programme in 2013 and since then conference has contributed to build institutional capacity for customs administrations in the region and has constituted a wealth of knowledge on research on customs matters.