Conference of Directors General of Customs of the WCO West and Central Africa Region
At the invitation of the Director General of Customs of the Republic of the Congo, Mr. Guénolé Mbongo Koumou, in his capacity as the WCO Vice-Chair for the West and Central Africa (WCA) Region, the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, spoke at the Regional Conference of Directors General of Customs held online on 28 and 29 April 2021.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Mikuriya described the WCO priorities and new working methods. The Conference then reviewed and discussed the following matters: progress in the Region, Customs modernization, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), measures to combat fraud and capacity building needs.
During the panel session on the operationalization of the AfCFTA, Secretary General Mikuriya reiterated WCO’s commitment, alongside the African Union, Regional Economic Communities and national Customs administrations, to support the historic initiative of creating a single market in Africa. He highlighted the leadership role played by Customs on this journey and stressed the importance of a robust infrastructure for regional integration. Directors General also reflected on Customs’ response to COVID-19 and underscored the vital role of information exchange in combating counterfeit or substandard medicines and vaccines.
The Conference discussed the capacity building opportunities provided by the WCO and the identification of needs in that respect. Additionally, the Directors General decided to improve the Region's administrative and financial arrangements to support regional initiatives.
At the closing ceremony, Dr. Mikuriya thanked the Vice-Chair for his exemplary leadership of the Conference and the clear conclusions reached, while commending the Directors General on their active participation. The Republic of the Congo’s Minister Delegate to the Minister of Finance and Budget in charge of Budget, H.E. Ludovic Ngatsé, closed the Conference by congratulating Customs administrations on their work, acknowledging the benefits they bring to countries and citizens.