Successful Conclusion of WCO MENA Regional Heads of Customs Meeting

05 March 2024

At the invitation of Mr. Jalal Al-Qudah, Director General of the Jordanian Customs as Vice-Chair for the North of Africa, Near and Middle-East (MENA) region, Mr. Ian Saunders, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), attended the 59th MENA Customs Directors General Regional Meeting, held at the Arab League Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on 27 February 2024.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Saunders focused on engaging MENA Members in the enduring discussions on the WCO modernization plan. The Secretary General provided a brief update on the current progress in this regard, including the results of the 89th session of the Policy Commission. He then invited the Directors General to share their ideas to enrich the Organization’s consideration of approaches to modernization. The discussion was open and active, and included several ideas to help the WCO refine its proposals.

The meeting discussed the follow-up to the deliberations of the Policy Commission in December 2023. The Directors General also reviewed several priorities for the region, such as the duties of Customs administrations assigned to serve on key governance committees (Policy Commission, Finance Committee, and Audit Committee) and their relationship with the Vice-Chair. A number of progress reports were also presented by regional entities, including the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) and the Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (RILOs) for the region.

Participants appreciated the opportunity to exchange views in person and the warm hospitality of the Vice-Chair and the host country, Egypt. During his visit, the Secretary General held a number of bilateral meetings with Members from the MENA region. He also met with the Deputy Minister of Finance of Egypt, Dr Ihab Abou Eish, to discuss areas of cooperation between WCO and Egypt.