Uganda takes over leadership of the World Customs Organization (WCO) Council
Uganda’s Commissioner for Customs, Dicksons Kateshumbwa has been elected today as the Chairperson of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Council ahead of the Russian contender Ruslan Davydov during the annual WCO Council session that just ended at the WCO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
Kateshumbwa takes over from Uruguay’s Enrique Canon who has been the Council Chairperson for the last 2 years. The WCO Council is the highest supreme body of the World Customs Organization shaping the global customs and international trade agenda.
The council which makes final decisions on Customs matters is composed of all Directors General of Customs or Commissioners of Customs of WCO’s 181 members / countries across the world. It also includes special bodies like the European Union, World Bank, IMF, African Union and other Regional blocks as observers.
As Council Chairperson, Kateshumbwa will preside over WCO’s Policy Commission that meets twice a year. He will also chair all council meetings that take place annually. While this is not a full time activity, it is a huge responsibility for Kateshumbwa to ensure that he steers the global customs agenda to focus on key WCO priorities and emerging areas such as implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), capacity building for members, comprehensive review of the harmonized system, the revised Kyoto Convention, r-Commerce, Illicit Financial Flows, Customs Performance Measurement, emerging technologies, Security, Revenue Collection Compliance among others.
He follows in the footsteps of Hon. Pravin Gordhan, the current Minister of Public Enterprises, Republic of South Africa who was the Chairperson from 2001 to 2006. The first ever from Africa. Kateshumbwa’s election is a vote of confidence in Uganda and a global recognition of URA’s tremendous Customs reforms that have attracted the world’s attention.
Last year Uganda was the first African country to host the WCO Global AEO Conference that attracted over 1000 delegates. Kateshumbwa remains the Commissioner Customs at Uganda Revenue Authority. His election comes amidst the changing role of Customs globally from largely Revenue collection to Trade Facilitation and managing supply chain security as well as growing global trade threats of protectionism and illegal trade.