The WCO successfully delivers a conference on Human Capital at the centre of Customs Strategies in a Post-COVID world
On 14 and 15 July 2021 the World Customs Organization (WCO), in cooperation with the Investment Climate Reform (ICR) Facility and the Regional Office for Capacity Building for West and Central Africa, successfully delivered a Conference under the theme “Human Capital at the Centre of Customs’ Strategies in a Post-COVID World”. The conference was attended by close to 350 participants from Customs, academia as well as private and public organizations from West and Central Africa and beyond.
The opening speech was delivered by His Excellency Mr. Kodjo Sévon-Tépé Adedze, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Local Consumption of Togo. Praising the courage and the commitment of customs officers worldwide, and HRM professionals in particular, he emphasized the key role of the human capital in the post-Covid recovery process. His Excellency underlined the importance of following the lessons learnt during the pandemic: organization of rotating shifts, teleworking, Customs clearance procedures digitalization, importance of the corresponding e-learning trainings for the customs officers, strengthening the partnership between different supply chain stakeholders, and smooth management of the borders. Mr. Adedze reminded that the HRM function is a central and strategic in answering the crisis itself, as well as in the future recovery from it.
The WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya as part of the high-level panel noted that the WCO is actively expanding its HRM portfolio as a part of its capacity building activities The Secretary General pointed out, that the number of high level representatives of the WCA Customs administration taking part in the conference both as panelist and as participants demonstrates the interest and the importance of the topic, which in its turn will encourage the HRM personnel of the Customs administrations for a further development, participation and cooperation.
The conference was facilitated by 26 widely recognized leaders in their industry (from Customs Administrations DGs, international organizations, academia, private sector and consultants). They shared with participants their proven practices, strategies and interventions concerning the role of Human Capital in the success of post-COVID Customs strategies. These will definitively equip Customs’ leaders, Customs’ HRM professionals, managers and employees to promote the importance of HRM modernization efforts in a Customs context; and help to build the capacities of Customs administrations in the WCA region with respect to crisis management and business continuity.
The conference provided a conducive platform for (i) sharing and collecting international and regional best practices concerning the role of Customs HR professionals in managing the COVID-19 crisis and potentially handling similar future crises; (ii) enabling HR professionals from Customs administrations in the WCA region to gain a greater understanding of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis and similar crises in the future; and (iii) strengthening the link between HR professionals from Customs administrations in the WCA region, and (iv) facilitating the dialogue between Customs administrations in the WCA region and their technical and financial partners.
The participants appreciated WCO’s initiative for this instructive and well organized conference and encouraged the WCO Secretariat to continue organizing People-centered events on a regular basis.