The meeting was presided over by Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA).
The theme for this year’s Conference focuses on ‘Knowledge Sharing’.
The convergence attracted participants from West and Central Africa and was bankrolled by (WCO) in collaboration with the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA).
Declaring the meeting open, Mr. Darboe offered an opportunity for the experts to review the activities of WCO-WCA Region and make recommendations to the Director Generals’ of Customs Conference which will be held in few days for adoption and implementation.
He noted that the success of the Director Generals’ Conference would depend on the outcome of Experts Meeting, signalling “your hard work will reflect positively on the success of the Conference.”
“I would urge you all to cooperate with one another and share your insights and perspectives to enrich the discussions and make meaningful recommendations to the conference.”
“As a seasoned customs officer myself, I am particularly interested in the initiative to build up and transfer knowledge to the next generation of customs officials in the region,” Mr. Darboe said.
He affirmed that he is a firm believer that the young generations of custom officers are the future leaders of the various customs administrations, and it is important that “we enhance their capacity and skillset to be able to meet up with the fast-changing business environment.”
“We are all aware that there is a continental agenda to integrate their economies, and this will obviously require increased level of cooperation among our various customs administrations,” he told the gathering. “The success of this continental agenda will largely depend on the level of capacity and expertise within our various customs administrations to realise this big African dream”.
The WCO Regional Development Manager Njebi Vincent Kwalar, said the cream of customs administration of the West and Central Africa Region is meeting to discuss issues of the region that would be presented to the Directors Generals Customs Conference from the 4th to 5th May 2023.
He paid tribute to the seasoned experts whom he said have by their recurrent participation at the annual meeting succeeded in living up to the bidding of the meeting to wit; enlightened counsels to heads of customs administration of the 24 countries that make up the West and Central Africa Region.
He also hailed President Adama Barrow for authorising the hosting of the meeting.
Mr. Kwalar also heaped praise on Mr Yankuba Darboe for the excellent quality of the reception accorded to them since arrival.