The president’s call is essential more so with the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by the African Union.
Mr Barrow was speaking at the 29th World Customs Organisation- World Customs Administrations (WCO-WCA) conference of the Directors General held in Banjul. The theme for the two days conference is: ‘Nurturing the Next Generation by Promoting a Culture of Knowledge Sharing and Professional Pride in Customs’.
Through cooperation, Barrow highlighted that African Customs Administrations could work together more efficiently and effectively to deliver better results, while stating that cooperation is a sure means of developing and applying joint solutions to remove barriers that hinder progress.
“As we seek to fully integrate our economies gradually, I implore you all to craft ways of fostering cooperation and sustaining a culture of sharing and updating approaches, trends, perspectives, and insights,” he told participants.
The President also recognised the crucial role that Customs plays in promoting economic growth, ensuring national security, facilitating international trade, collecting data, and protecting our environment and cultural heritage.
To register greater results in these areas, he said: “It is critical to take steps that would adequately prepare and equip the next generation of Customs officials to ably face the challenges of the future. This is achievable only through a culture of information, knowledge, and data sharing, which is essential for the development of Customs officials and the efficacy of our systems.”
He reiterated that customs administration is constantly evolving, saying it is imperative that new generations of officials are kept up to date with the latest developments and trends.
By sharing knowledge and experiences, he said, it is easier to learn from one another and adapt to changing circumstances more quickly and effectively.
“In view of the laudable contribution of Customs services to the world, knowledge sharing is necessary to promote a culture of professional pride, value, and respect within the sector.”
President Barrow commended the WCO for the critical role it is playing in promoting global trade by facilitating the movement of goods across borders and ensuring the safety and security of member states.
He further revealed that the WCO had greatly supported The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) over the years through technical assistance and capacity building. This, he added, has significantly improved the efficiency and effectiveness of GRA, hence leading to significant growth in international trade revenues.