Cameroon Customs has launched a new Information Technology system built by South Korean engineers intended to ease difficulties related to clearance formalities at the country’s ports. The system known as CAMCIS was put in place through a Public-Private Partnership deal expected to last 12 years, according to Cameroon’s Customs Director-General, Edwin Fongod.

A ceremony to inaugurate the new system took place in the town of Nomayos on the outskirts of the capital, Yaounde, on 5 June 2020, in the presence of South Korea’s ambassador to Cameroon, Bok-Ryeol Rhyou. CAMCIS, an acronym for Cameroon Customs Information System, comes to replace a former system, SYDONIA, which had been in use since 2007. The new system was first introduced at the beginning of this year at a ceremony in the port city of Douala.

Fongod said at the launch event that the new system which is also used by other Customs services across Africa, will improve performance and up revenue. The Customs department contributes a significant chunk to Cameroon’s annual state budget, with the service’s 2019 revenue surpassing its target by 14,3%.

Cameroon's Finance Minister (left), Customs Director General (right) and Korean ambassador (middle) during ceremony to launch CAMCIS on 5 June 2020.

“The government has decided to officially launch CAMCIS. Symbolically, we decided to do it in Yaounde at one of our data centers. CAMCIS is a much more modern system. We went for the Korean model because for now, it is the best in the world and it brings about total automation,” Fongod said.

Faster clearance operations at Cameroon's ports

Experts say with CAMCIS, the information will be better managed and clearance procedures will be made much easier thanks to its operational speed. "It is estimated that with CAMCIS, we would save a maximum number of days for our operations. Also, it will be possible to carry out Customs clearance operations within one day after the validation of papers," a statement issued by the Customs communication office in Yaounde said.

Cameroon authorities say the new tool will, among other things, speed up procurement of Customs duties and taxes, facilitate better control of goods while on transit, enhance traceability of all Customs-related transactions and prevent corrupt practices.

According to the Manager of the system, it can be operated from anywhere. "The uniqueness of this system is that it allows one to work online without interference. Governance issues will be addressed in this way. There is also the possibility to track operations without moving and to work with all our partners on one platform," Séraphin Deffo Deffo explained.

He said CAMCIS is accessible from any digital terminal, notably smartphones, tablets, or computers, with a browser and an Internet connection. About 200 staff of the Customs’ Information and Communication Technology unit who’ll work on the system were sent to Korea for training, he added.

CAMCIS was developed from Korea’s UNI-PASS system which is said to have won awards globally and is widely used by other Customs services for their operations.

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