About 700 delegates gathered in Dakar, Senegal, to attend the World Customs Organization’s IT Conference & Exhibition opening ceremony, on the morning of June 1st 2016.

On behalf of the President of the Republic of Senegal, the head of the President’s private office, Mr. Oumar Youm, delivered a speech stressing the importance of IT in governance processes and the need to adapt to this changing world. He also explained that in a context of increasing automation, it was necessary to find the right balance between trade facilitation and security.

The Director General of Senegal Customs, Mr. Papa Ousmane Gueye, reminded how the digital customs goes in hand with the trade facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organization. The relevancy of interconnectivity resides in its contribution on trade facilitation on the one hand, and the objective of his country’s progress in the Doing Business ranking and improve its competitiveness on the other.

The World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretary General, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, focused on digital customs as a theme of the conference, but also that of 2016 customs ’day. He stressed the importance for the customs to use IT tools and data for daily monitoring of supply chain, in order to fulfill its missions. He recalled that the Conference on IT was an excellent opportunity for customs and the private sector to engage and discuss the best ways to use information technology.

This 15th edition was organized by the WCO jointly with the Senegal customs administration. This international event was held for the first time in the sub-Saharan region of Africa, where many recent promising path and future-oriented in the field of IT are noticeable. The theme of this edition was “Digital Customs: Accelerating connectivity – Bridging the divide”.

This year, discussions were focused on various strategic issues as part of joined efforts to modernize the Customs administration and improve its capacity. Therefore plenaries were held on the following subjects: leadership, communication, inter-connectivity, innovation, governance and training. Alongside, workshops were held on IT solutions for customs, research and training.

The World Customs Organization IT Conference & Exhibition is a key event organized yearly in the organization’s member-countries, which attracts hundreds of participants worldwide. The aim of this conference is to bring together representatives of the public and private sector to have them exchange views on strategic solutions and products in order to empower and modernize the customs administrations allowing therefore the improvement of border security and the facilitation of customs formalities.

SOURCE : wcoomd.org