A successful Council meeting
This year we had a very successful Council meeting. We had more country delegations and Directors-General visiting our general assembly than ever. There were good discussion and some major decisions taken during the Council meeting. The European Commission was accepted as the first regional full scale member to our organization and the Director General of Cameroon Customs, Mr. Antoine Manga Massina was elected as the new Director of the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate of the WCO Secretariat. He will replace my good colleague Mr. Chriticles Mwanza who has returned to Zambia after a request from the President to serve as Commissioner for the Zambia Revenue Authority. I congratulate my old friend Antoine Manga Massina for winning a very close and exiting election and I welcome him to the Secretariat. I look forward to working closely with Antoine in the future.
Meeting with the European Union on Capacity Building cooperation
The European Union is one of the largest donors in the world, and today the Director of Capacity Building will meet with the Director General of European Aid (AidCO), Mr. Koos Richelle, to talk about a deeper cooperation in the field of Customs Capacity Building. This is a follow-up meeting to the very successful donor’s conference, a Global Dialogue on capacity Building that was held in South Africa in April 2007. The WCO and the European Union has since the conference, where Mr. Koos Richelle was one of the Key Note Speakers, had a on-going dialogue on how to work closer in partnership to enhance capacity building delivery and speed up sustainable Customs modernization around the world.
Mission to Abidjan
The Capacity Building Director, Mr. Lars Karlsson, visits Abidjan in Cote D’Ivoire for a meeting with the Director General of Customs, Major General Gnamien Konan. During the meeting the Mr. Karlsson discussed the results of the diagnostic mission and Columbus programme phase 2 support. He will also studied the experience of ICT implementation in the country and discussed with the Director General, and his team, how this experience can be re-used in the second phase of the Columbus programme
Director General Gnamien had for the meeting also invited Dr. Sola Afolabi, Director of the ECOWAS Community Computer Centre and representatives for the Directors General of Customs in Niger, Senegal and Togo. Director General Gnamien displayed the ICT systems that have been developed by his administration. Cote D’Ivoire has developed a state of the art ICT support for Customs with very interesting applications for several of the main components of the SAFE Framework of Standards. The DG has offered to share the systems and development implementation experience with the WCO Secretariat and other countries within the West and Central Africa region, as well as to other interested countries. Alix, a very interesting Customs to Customs (SAFE pillar one) exchange of data system has been developed by Customs in Cote D’Ivoire and it is tested between the country and Ghana. During the mission Mr.Karlsson also visited the Risk Analysis unit, the Contaner Scanner Unit (including a study tour to the scanner hall for a visual inspection) and the Customs ICT department to check on the ICT systems in development and operational environment.
Meeting for with donors in London
Today the Director, Mr. Lars Karlsson, visited London for meetings with different donor organizations as a follow-up to the Global Dialogue conference in Johannesburg earlier this spring.