Experts examine how technologies will shape customs administration globally

Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service Hameed Ali

By Gboyega Oni

How the latest technologies – Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence – will shape customs and border management economically was recently examined by technology experts who took into consideration the preparation of customs administrations worldwide for the use of the technologies.
The examination was done by speakers at a recent World Trade Organisation’s the Public Forum that took place in Geneva.

The experts included over 2500 representatives from civil society, academia, business, the media, governments, parliamentarians and inter-governmental organizations participated at the forum with the theme “Trade 2030”.

The aim of the forum was exploring how technology is transforming our lives and our economies – including the way we trade. In that context, the WCO organized a working session to discuss how latest technologies can improve the work of Customs and other border agencies to facilitate and accelerate trade.

Mr. Matome Mathole, Customs Attache of South Africa in Brussels, in his capacity as the Moderator of the WCO Virtual Working Group on the Future of Customs, shared his insight on the ongoing work that the Customs community is carrying out in terms of exploring latest technologies and piloting their use for more effective border management and trade facilitation.

Mr. Nicolas Buhmann, Commercial Manager at Maersk, Denmark talked about the TradeLens Joint Venture with IBM and the benefits of Blockchain technology towards building trust along the supply chain.

Mr. Brice Lenain, Solution specialist at Microsoft Switzerland talked about the different ways in which artificial intelligence was making a difference in the work of Customs, including the importance of collecting and managing data for its intelligent use.

Ms. Kelly Bélanger, Director General for Travellers Project Portfolio Directorate, at the Canada Border Services Agency explained the importance of developing a strategy for introducing technologies in a world where they are evolving in an accelerated pace.

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