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Directors General of Customs of Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal “Connect”

08 abril 2015

The Trade Support and Regional Integration Programme (PACIR - trade facilitation aspect) includes a component concerning the connectivity of the Customs IT systems of Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali, for the management of transit. Senegal has now joined the Project and other West African countries have also signalled their interest in participating.

The Steering Committee, led by the Directors General of Customs of the four countries concerned, held its second meeting in Abidjan on 19 March 2015. The meeting was also attended by the Côte d’Ivoire authorities with responsibility for PACIR, the European Union Delegation in Côte d’Ivoire, the World Bank, the Borderless Alliance, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Chambers of Commerce of the four countries concerned, representatives of the private sector, the Observatory on the Speed of Clearance Operations (OCOD), the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB - WCA) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretariat.

During the meeting, Côte d’Ivoire’s Director General of Customs gave a presentation on the issue of the management of transit in the sub-region, saying that he would like Customs administrations to pool their efforts in order to overcome the difficulties associated with transit procedures.

The Director of the ROCB-WCA drew attention to the trade facilitation aspect which stemmed from the international trading context. He highlighted the importance to the sub-region of the Project to interconnect Customs IT systems.

The representative of ECOWAS outlined his institution’s role in the implementation of Community projects, pointing out that the ALISA Project already provided for the connectivity of the ECOWAS countries’ Customs IT systems. He reaffirmed his Organization’s commitment to supporting the Project in technical and financial terms, whilst expressing the wish that it be extended to cover the other countries of the sub-region.

The representative of the WCO Secretariat highlighted the opportunities and prospects offered by the Connectivity Project, pointing out that it fitted perfectly into the WCO’s strategy for facilitating and securing international trade. He urged the various development partners to support the Project, which would have a significant, positive impact on all stakeholders. He encouraged the Customs administrations concerned to maintain their momentum in order to ensure the successful completion of this very promising Project.

The Steering Committee’s work culminated in the adoption of the "Report on the Study Phase" which had been drawn up by the Project leaders. The report includes information on all the work on the functional and technical specifications which had been carried out since the first meeting, held in Abidjan from 29 to 31 May 2013.

The meeting was also marked by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the connectivity of the four countries’ Customs IT systems – a significant stage in the realization of the Project.

Planning for implementation, and the development of the IT solution, will be the next stages of the Project