Employing VRT in transferring knowledge on customs professions

VCN – Human resource training and development coupled with technological development and putting people at the center of development are prominent contents discussed throughout the Technology Conference and Exhibition 2023 of the World Customs Organization taking place in Hanoi, Vietnam from October 10-12, 2023, Customs Magazine had an interview with Mr. Larry Liza, Director of the World Customs Organization, East & Southern Africa, Regional Office for Capacity Building (WCO ESA ROCB) about the contents.
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Employing VRT in transferring knowledge on customs professions

Larry Liza, Director of the World Customs Organization, East & Southern Africa, Regional Office for Capacity Building (WCO ESA ROCB). Photo: Tran Anh

What do you think about the role of technology in the Customs?

Technology is actually key and has continued to advance over the years in every other institution, organization, and field. Accordingly, they have taken advantage of the technology to successfully implement their functions and customs in particular. We used manual processes for many years and now technology has helped us ensure automation of customs processes. So this is the best gift with the technology.

With automation, you have greater trade facilitation, greater customs modernization, mobilization of revenue, greater compliance, efficiency in managing education and knowledge transfer methods, as well as the key to data exchange and information sharing. So technology remains key, I would say mainly for automation, which leads to modernization and revolution of customs processes.

Could you share some popular ways to transfer professional knowledge on customs management, that customs authorities are applying?

The easiest way to transfer customs knowledge or the most popular one is e-learning. We have had a lot of physical classes but more than ever we are leveraging technology more and more for e-learning courses and modules where you can simply take your phone and read and learn as a customs officer, anytime and anywhere with internet-connected devices such as smartphone, Ipad, computer…

But another key one the more recent technology such as virtual reality training (VRT) that has been used a lot in the transfer of knowledge because it keeps you in a student or anyone needing knowledge in that space, a virtual space where you are able to experience in the field without actually going there. So I can be seated here and wearing my VR equipment and getting the simulation of a container in a port or an airplane or a ship and somewhere else. So VRT in e-learning, is really important and is really continually coming up.

What is the most impressive technology Customs authorities should apply to achieve high efficiency in customs management?

We recognize that for instance in East and Southern Africa and globally we have different customs management systems. We have an Automated System for Customs Data (Asycuda) which is used globally. We have UNIPASS which is also coming up.

We have different countries like Kenya, Mauritius, and South Africa that have their own systems. But what is more important is just seeing how all these systems work so efficiently, so seamlessly.

So my hope is continued integration of the systems, continued development of the systems, but more importantly integration of risk management and artificial intelligence in all the customs management systems that can allow greater information sharing and greater data sharing for greater technological advancement and modernization of customs administrations.

Could you share your feelings about the organization of the “2023 WCO Technology Conference and Exhibition” by Vietnam customs in Hanoi, Vietnam?

This event is very emotional for me. I was born and brought up in Kenya in the late 80s and early 90s. We used to watch movies, you know, in the Chuck Norris movies, and most of the movies were based on Vietnam and the war that had been taking place in Vietnam. And that is what we were conditioned to think.

But when I came here, I was so impressed with the development of Vietnam, the beauty of the country, and the people. And the organization of this conference is just the best ever. Vietnam is a cultural phenomenon with beautiful people, kindness, wonderful, clean environment. The cuisine is wide, continental, and diversified.

But I think the most important thing that I have seen here is the heart of the people. Everyone looks at you and smiles. I just want to come back to Vietnam on holiday. This is the best IT conference that I have ever attended in my life.

Thank you very much!

By Huyen Trang

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