WE ARE FACED WITH NEW STAKES AND CHALLENGES

Generally, Customs have always sought a balance between trade facilitation and control. In the new and emerging international trading landscape, this balance has taken a new dimension with, on the one hand, the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that will be implemented with special and differential treatment to support developing and least developed countries, and on the other hand, the increasing global security concerns with the emergence of violent transnational terrorist activities that are increasingly drawing the attention of governments to enhance border and supply chain security.

In the current dispensation marked by globalization, economic operators and other stakeholders often perceive Customs as an administration that slows down the free movement of goods.

Confronted with this reality and new developments at the global level, the deployment of new approaches to ensure greater balance between trade facilitation and control is indispensable (for the security of the international logistics chain and the fight against trans-border crimes and other forms of trafficking). Among others, we should take advantage of IT advancements to effectively meet new challenges of digital economy.

In line with this last reality, the World Customs Organization (WCO) placed the year 2016 under the theme “Digital Customs”, underpinned by data analysis (which is the theme for the year 2017) to ensure greater efficiency of our interventions at the borders. The maturity model developed by the WCO will allow for the provision of responses tailored to the needs of Customs Administrations. My profile and experience give me the necessary competence to advise the Secretary General and Members on these issues and associated six priority areas identified by the WCO: Trade facilitation; E-Commerce; Security; Customs-Tax cooperation; illicit financial flows (IFFs); and Performance measurement


A profile adapted to current stakes

During my 18 years in the Cameroon Customs, I have had operational experiences in the sea ports and airports, as well as experiences in policy and strategic issues at Customs Headquarters including IT management, leading to my appointment as Director of the Computer department which is a highly strategic area for overall Customs and border reforms and modernization, given that greater ICT uptake and data analysis equally support fight against corruption, improve the performance of administrations and optimize the use of resources.

During this journey, I equally gathered experience in the management and successful implementation of reform processes, in partnership with businesses, donors and other stakeholders. These successful reforms have been acknowledged as fruitful in the fight against corruption and have inspired several Customs administrations that are currently benefitting from WCO support in this area.

Since May 2012, I have actively driven and contributed to several key priority areas of the WCO Secretariat, notably on issues relating to trade facilitation, and specifically with regard to the accession to and implementation of the International Convention on the simplification and the harmonization of customs procedures – as amended (Revised Kyoto Convention - RKC) which is known as the blueprint for efficient and modern customs regimes.

With wealth of experience and expertise in both policy and operational areas, I have been able to advise at the political and strategic levels in the promotion and successful implementation of several instruments and tools developed by the Organization to support the reform and modernization programmes and projects of various Customs administrations and partner government agencies in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders. The five years I have spent at the Secretariat have enabled me to deepen my knowledge of ongoing work in the Organization, as well as the new initiatives. Through sustained work in all the six regions of the WCO, I have extensive and intensive understanding of the issues and challenges in each of these regions and associated needs and requirements for reform and modernization.


A COHERENT AND CONCERTED APPROACH

Given the global trade and security environment, I see the role of the Deputy Secretary General (DSG) as extremely important in the WCO’s overarching approach in effectively dealing with it. My vision of this position is that of a strategic advisor with a practical operational approach who can dynamically advise the Secretary General (SG) and drive various working bodies to carry out work within the overall policy orientations set out by the Policy Commission (PC) and the Council.

My candidature is, therefore, highly motivated by the fact that I would like to continue and enhance my support to Customs Administrations and other stakeholders through a global strategic and inclusive approach, thus ensuring the effective and harmonious implementation of reforms through the use of various WCO instruments, tools and programmes.

With the entry into force of the TFA, intensive and dedicated work in a cohesive manner will have to be carried out over next few years, which would include a focused support to developing and least developed countries under Mercator Programme, in their pursuit of implementing carious TF measures. I, therefore, look forward to put myself at the centre of the MERCATOR programme for the political and strategic guidance with tailor made operational programmes for Customs administrations in cooperation with stakeholders.

If elected as the WCO’s DSG, under the overall guidance of the Secretary General, I will work towards enhancing the work of various WCO bodies, by providing them with the policy and strategic perspectives on Member’s national and regional priorities and exploring new areas considering the current needs of Members as well as recent and future developments. My efforts would be directed well prepare the global Customs community to anticipate, participate in, and leverage the emerging economic, political and social paradigms.

Although the method is constrained by the WCO framework, nevertheless, I will endeavor, with the support of the SG and the Members, to ensure that national and regional specificities are better understood and taken into account in WCO’s work programmes. The standards produced by the WCO and the WTO are indeed good for standardization and harmonization as they bring coherence and convergence, thus improving the efficiency of the international supply chain, benefiting governments and businesses alike. However, going forward more attention needs to be paid how WCO instruments and tools are applied a scalable manner, linking with the overall performance measurement and continued improvement.

Drawing upon my vast experience gained during my tenure in my Administration as well as accumulated in all WCO regions during my various activities and missions, I am better placed to understand and address the need and requirements developing and least developing countries (as well as developed countries.

There is only one standard for Customs that developed by the WCO, but there are probably a thousand ways to implement these standards, providing enough flexibility and customization to better suit to national operational environments. As such, I would like to encourage dialogue between and among Members having different developmental needs, so that they benefit from each other in terms of, not only, successes but also experiences, difficulties, obstacles and how they have been overcome. Basically, it is the path that is interesting. Thus, I would like to promote and ensure a pragmatic approach to the implementation of WCO standards closely working with Directors within the framework of the SG’s vision.

Finally, coming from a country whose two official languages are English and French, I will especially ensure that WCO expertise should be available, at least, in the both official languages of the Organization while exploring all possibilities to have them into other languages.

By ensuring the COORDINATION internally and externally, I will try to ensure the practical cohesion and progression of the WCO institution keeping pace with new responsibilities and Member’s expectations.

FaLang translation system by Faboba