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ECOWAS Member States Discuss How to Unlock Transit Challenges Along the Main Trade Corridors in West Africa

ACCRA, Ghana, June 8, 2016 — The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the World Bank Group co-hosted a technical workshop in Ghana from June 7–8, under the Improved and Facilitated Trade in West Africa Project . The project aims to unlock transit challenges across key trade corridors in West Africa.
Over 40 participants, including representatives from the ECOWAS and the West Africa Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU) Commissions, the European Union, the World Bank Group, and stakeholders from the public and private sectors along the three main trade corridors in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, and Ghana, attended the two-day event.
“The Economic Community of West African States is committed to implementing programs that facilitate regional integration and making it work for private sector operators and the people of West Africa,” said Mr. Louali Chaibou, Commissioner, Trade Customs and Free Movement, ECOWAS Commission.
The event brought together stakeholders along the trade corridors to share best practices in implementing reforms that facilitate trade. Main themes included: enhancing the flow of transit trade by managing trade corridors, efficient ports and effective border crossings; customs information exchange mechanisms between neighboring countries; increasing transparency of trade procedures; and promoting collaboration between national border agencies. The intended outcome was to discuss and agree on a reform action plan to improve trade facilitation along the main corridors.
"The fact the European Union is financing this event is testimony of the importance we give to the promotion of the private sector as an engine for an economic and social development of West Africa. Our support to improving trade conditions is a priority of the EU cooperation with the region," said Delphine Aupicon, Program Officer / Macro-economic and Trade Section who represented Ambassador William Hanna, Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana.
The Improved and Facilitated Trade in West Africa Project is a four-year initiative that was launched in November 2014. The 3,5 million project seeks to support ECOWAS to improve trade in the West African region and, specifically, transit trade along the region’s major trade corridors. It focuses on reducing the time and cost to trade, and increasing border agency cooperation and coordination, to encourage a better flow of goods within the region, and with international trading partners.
“West African countries have enormous potential to strengthen competitiveness and increase trade flows, which can drive growth, reduce poverty, and deliver jobs to the region. The World Bank Group is pleased to be working in partnership with regional organizations, member states, the private sector and development partners to help these countries unlock transit challenges along key trade corridors, and improve their competitiveness within the global economy,” said Ronke-Amoni Ogunsulire, IFC Country Manager for Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Togo.
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For more information, please contact:
ECOWAS: In Abuja, Amos Lungu, Publication Officer, +234(0)8025560095,
European Union: In Abuja, Modestus Chukwulaka, Press and Information Officer, +234(0)94617800 ext 204,
World Bank Group: In Accra, Kennedy Fosu, Communications Officer , +233(0)302214142/ +233(0)244312541,
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was established on May 28 1975 via the Lagos treaty. ECOWAS is a 15-member regional body with a mandate of promoting economic integration in all fields of activity of its member states. As one of the pillars of the African Economic Community, ECOWAS was set up to foster economic integration by creating a borderless region where the population has access to its abundant resources under a sustainable environment and promote good governance and democracy. For more information, please visit .
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit , , and .