End of November to beginning of December 2013, following a request from the then Customs Director-General, a small WCO expert team travelled to South Sudan to undertake a Phase 1 Diagnostic Mission under the auspices of the WCO Columbus Programme. The needs analysis was conducted by a colleague of the WCO Capacity Building Directorate along with an expert from the South African Revenue Service.
South Sudan gained its independence as recently as July 2011 and is still the youngest country in the world. Until recently it was also the newest Member country of the WCO.
It was during the course of the visit that the WCO team learnt that the Customs Director General had been replaced. A meeting was held with the new Director General and after outlining the work of the WCO and the purpose and benefit of its Capacity Building Programme it was agreed that the mission should proceed as planned.
The diagnostic team visited the Customs Headquarter in the capital city of Juba, Juba International Airport and Nimule Border Crossing Point on the border with Uganda. The team had the opportunity to meet and speak with a wide variety of motivated people from within the South Sudan Customs Service and also held informative discussions with a number of key stakeholders from the public sector, trade representatives and donor agencies.
The South Sudan Customs Service is just starting out on the road of Reform and Modernization. The diagnostic team made a series of recommendations that will help them in this regard but also identified some “quick win” activities that will assist them in building organisational confidence and commitment to the whole development process. The WCO looks forward to working with the South Sudan Customs Service again in the near future. Source: WCO