From April 24th to 26th 2019, Dakar hosted the 5th Meeting of the Regional Working Group ICT Development of the World Customs Organization West and Central Africa region. Three days of discussions on challenges about customs ICT tools.

The WCO-WCA region ICT Experts led the discussion to define common strategies for a better appropriation of ICT tools. The Working Group on ICT Development in the WCA-WCO region aims at promoting the ICT use, and making a significant contribution to facilitation and efficient customs clearance procedures automation. Besides, the Senegal Customs DG Oumar DIALLO, in his welcome speech reminded the place of ICT for customs’ Administrations regarding performance.  
About fifty participants from West and Central African countries took part in this meeting of sharing experiences on the efficient use of ICT in customs’ clearance procedures. Among the authorities were : Mr. Gilles Thierry BEUGRÉ, Chairman of the Regional Working Group; Mr. Raouf BENZARTI representing the United Nations Council for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mr. Camara MOUSSA representing the Vice-Chair of the ROCB-WCA, Mr. Tafili EBENEZER the Director of the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB), Mr. Alpha Youssouf TANDIANG focal point of the Regional Office for Capacity Building, and experts from private companies like Modelsis, GAINDE 2000 and GCNET.
Discussions were focused on this year’s theme: “WHICH COMPUTER MECHANISM FOR THE REINFORCEMENT OF ANTICIPATED INSPECTIONS IN ORDER TO SECURE THE REVENUE AND ACCELERATE CUSTOM’S CLEARANCE”. To further develop innovative IT tools for securing customs’ revenues and contribute effectively to facilitation was the main objective of this meeting. Even the President of the organizing committee, Colonel Alioune Dione, Head of Senegal Customs Information Systems, pointed out this key issue of the meeting in his welcome address.
During discussions, several issues were raised including capacity building, human resources management platform, computer systems security etc.
Thus, at the end of the meeting, several recommendations were identified including actors and deadlines for implementation. The ROCB, for instance, is responsible for developing a regional dashboard model of strategic plans covering all customs trades, in collaboration with the Ivory Coast and The Gambia.
The study on new technologies such as drones, mobile phones and other devices that may impact the customs profession is entrusted to the Cape Verde, Ivory Coast and Nigeria Customs.
Relevantly the sharing experiences ended up in the development of common strategies that address all technological innovation issues as far as the WCO-WCA clearance procedures is concerned.
The workshop was closed by the Senegal General Customs Director, Oumar Diallo who emphasized the need to move quickly and well in the implementation of the main recommendations. Lastly, he promised to insist at the next meeting of the Customs General Directors from WCO-WCA Region to consider the conclusions of the 5th Meeting of the Regional Working Group.
Ndèye Fatim SECK / VASID / DSID