The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has never intended to open source ASYCUDA (as the WCO recently did in June 2017 with their Cargo Targeting System). It seems clear that Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) should not be in the business of building and selling rudimentary software solutions, and donors should not be funding the development or deployment especially when there is an appearance of a kickback scheme for a select few...
Today we launch the next chapter in our series on ASYCUDA. We hope you enjoy. If you missed parts 1 and 2, they can be accessed here:
In the last chapter, we discussed the findings of the UN Audits on ASYCUDA and UNCTAD in 2008 and 2012. In this chapter, we discuss the plans UNCTAD had for ASYCUDA and why they never actually emerged.
As requested by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) in 2008, UNCTAD/ASYCUDA was asked to develop a strategy in regards to the development and roll-out of the next generation of ASYCUDA World branded as “ASYCUDA Millennium”...
We’ve prepared a series of upcoming posts over the next 1-2 weeks regarding ASYCUDA that might draw some interest and discussion. A few months ago, I had posted a blog on ASYCUDA called: “The ASYCUDA Myth Part 1: Is UNCTAD fostering a No-Bid Sole Source Contract for ASYCUDA World?” This post can be accessed here and discussed the various tactics employed by UNCTAD to secure a sole source deployment of ASYCUDA under the guise of a misleading feasibility study.
The next in the series (posted here today) is called, “The ASYCUDA Myth Part 2: United Nations Audit Reveals Collusion, and Conflicts of Interest”, and is based on the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight services (OIOS) audits in 2008 and 2012. Surprisingly, many in our community are still unaware of these reports and the internal conflicts they exposed. Personally, I only discovered them in the last year. If you are in anyway involved in trade facilitation, customs modernization, and/or capacity building in the developing world, it is very important to understand the specifics of ASYCUDA development to date and where this system is likely headed.
This blog will be followed by 2 more blogs in the next 2 weeks called,
“The ASYCUDA Myth Part 3: Where is ASYCUDA Millennium?”
“The ASYCUDA Myth Part 4: Time to Open Source.”
I hope these blogs are enjoyed and prompt much discussion to make the positive change that is desperately needed.
David Hamilton is an International Trade Facilitation Consultant at Xalgorithms Foundation. His latest blog provides interesting insight and compares closed and open source source options for UN developed Trade systems such as ASYCUDA World. Right now the current closed source method limits the level of participation in designing solutions ultimately meant to provide access. How can we foster this change?
Alibaba’s Jack Ma was named UNCTAD’s Special Adviser on trade this week. Mr. Ma was quoted as follows; "It is an honor to serve as UNCTAD’s Special Adviser on Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business," said Mr. Ma. "I have spent my career working with entrepreneurs and know the positive social and economic impact when people are given the opportunity to participate in the global economy."
Mr. Ma, we have a problem. UNCTAD is actually preventing my fellow entrepreneurs, start-ups, and technology firms (who build solutions for border processing and trade facilitation) from the opportunity to participate. In short, they have created a barrier to market entry. The playing field is not level.