West & Central Africa Takes First Steps Towards Building Communities of Integrity Practice within the Region

20 November 2023

From 13-16 November 2023, the WCO Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) Programme organized in Accra, with the support of Ghana Revenue Authority, a meeting of A-CIP partner administrations followed by a West and Central Africa (WCA) region-wide workshop dedicated to building communities of practice in matters of integrity within the region.

During the initial meeting of A-CIP partner administrations, representatives from Customs of Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Ghana, Mali and Niger met to identify potential opportunities to form among themselves communities of integrity practice. Specifically, they explored their respective practices under their A-CIP projects, particularly those in line with the Audit and Investigation, Morale and Organizational Culture, and Relationship with the Private Sector key factors of the WCO Revised Arusha Declaration Concerning Good Governance and Integrity in Customs.

Later in the week, A-CIP Programme partners were joined, in person and online, by other WCO Members from the region, invited by the WCA Regional Vice Chair, Nigeria, who opened the session via the Deputy Comptroller, Nigeria Customs Service. Representatives from the WCO Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) and the ECOWAS Secretariat were also present and provided insights on regional integrity initiatives.

Participants from the Customs administrations of Nigeria, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinee and Senegal were invited alongside the A-CIP partner administrations to reflect on the concrete actions taken by their administrations in some areas listed in the Revised Arusha Declaration.  Participants reflected on the knowledge gained in the process, the knowledge still needed and ways of sharing these  within a WCA regional community of practice.

Participants agreed that there was a clear need for a WCA community of integrity practice that would share procedures, best practices, experiences & case studies, standards & regulations, as well as guidance & handbooks among Members of the region. Possible methods of exchange considered by the group included e-learning platforms, regional group discussions, joint training programmes, and technical working groups, but also via professional attachments and study visits.

The meeting closed with strong commitments made by the office of the WCO Regional Vice Chair and the ROCB, as well as all participants present, to continue to take the steps necessary to build communities of integrity practice in the WCA region.

The WCO A-CIP Programme  currently supports more than 20 countries in five WCO regions, with funding from Norway and Canada. For more information, please contact capacity.building@wcoomd.org.