News (18)

This is a relief for Malian traders in food and livestock because they have been obliged to produce a certificate of origin (CDO) for them. The good news is reported by the West Africa Trade & Investment Hub, an offshoot of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for which this certificate is a direct violation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme SLEC).

By eliminating this famous bottleneck of its traders at the same time as neighboring Guinea, our country is now one of the six countries to have abolished the requirement of this certificate of origin in the ECOWAS area. Since Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin have already preceded them in the lifting of what can be called by gendarmes lying on the different routes of interstate traders.

The USAID Trade Hub, which states that it has "expressly requested" the West African governments that have waived this certificate, has launched a survey of 290 traders, freight forwarders and drivers involved in the trade of 15 agricultural products and animals within ECOWAS. The survey, whose results are expected to be released in the near future, noted that merchants passing through major corridors are obliged to obtain a CDO for half of their shipments. It takes them about 15 hours and $ 41.74 to get a single document, each step being separated, which prevents them from pursuing other steps at the same time.

The study also revealed that only 14.8% of respondents were aware of the initiatives, changes made; there are reforms that affect the time and cost of cross-border trade, including in countries that have waived the CDO over the past 18 months.

Recall that one of the missions of the USAID Trade Hub is to work with governments and local communities to inform official decisions to facilitate trade throughout West Africa.

In addition, the Hub is teaming up with national trade associations to ensure the elimination of the CDO requirement in Guinea-Bissau and the Gambia.


August 03, 2017 Written by
Published in News

Togo and Ghana decide to open their borders

After the video surveillance system announced a few weeks ago by Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé, the land borders between Togo and Ghana once closed at 10 pm, will remain open 24 hours a day.

This decision, which came into force on Tuesday 1 August, strengthens cooperation between the two nations and respects the recommendations of the subregional bodies, in particular the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Recommendations related to the increased free movement of people and goods. By opening their borders, these two states will facilitate trade and allow their populations to access goods whose characteristics are often different from locally produced goods.

Source: Lanouvelletribune

West Africa is Morocco's leading trading partner in Africa with a 58.2% share in 2016. Moroccan exports to the region more than tripled between 2008 and 2016, from 3.2 billion dirhams To € 10.2 billion (€ 927 million). The agri-food industry holds a special place in these exchanges.

The balance is largely in surplus in favor of Morocco, as Morocco's imports from West Africa are low, one billion dirham in 2016, and progressed less rapidly during the period (759 million Dirhams), according to a study by the Office des Changes. At the level of suppliers in Morocco, West Africa ranks second (28%) behind southern Africa (50%).

Morocco's main clients in the region are Senegal (19%), Mauritania (17%), Côte d'Ivoire (14%) and Nigeria (14%). Morocco's main suppliers are Nigeria (37%), Guinea (21%), Côte d'Ivoire (10%) and Togo (9%).

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Former Nigerian President, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo has advised the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to consider the adoption of a single currency for member countries in order to boost trade in the region.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to agree on a common currency to boost regional trade.
Obasanjo made the call at the ongoing 24th Annual General Meeting of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in Kigali, the Rwandan capital.

He spoke on: Can Regional Economic Communities Work for Africa: Lessons from a Founding Father.

He said that the issue of common currency was getting delayed because the regional leaders had put forward “ECO” as a name for the currency but wondered why it had not been adopted.
According to him, the currency is required to move the current level of the regional trade from 25 per cent to more than 50 per cent.

He said the various currency zones like the Naira zone, the Cedi zone, among others should not be allowed to mitigate the flow of trade within the region.

He blamed too many internal conflicts and changes in policies, among others, as some of the challenges facing the region.
Obasanjo, however, lauded ECOWAS countries for their ability to resolve their issues on their own, adding that ECOWAS on its own had resolved conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Lone and The Gambia.

He said that in the case of The Gambia, ECOWAS leaders agreed that a military option should be adopted but it should be without firing a bullet.

“I was sure the ousted president Yahya Jammeh will leave but when he started delaying ECOWAS leaders met, it was agreed a military option should be adopted.

“The tactics worked and when the countries leaders were saying the ousted president Yahya Jammeh had left the country with huge sums of money. I told them to allow him go with the money so far as he allows the country to remain in peace,” he said.

He said the region had been most democratic region going by free and fair elections done in the countries.

He told the audience that in the region, elections had been held without violence and wherever there were crises the region had resolved such crises peacefully.

Source : Thetidenewsonline

After its election as President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Faure Gnassingbé is more involved in community issues Including the safeguarding of borders and the free movement of persons and goods.

In this context, he made an unexpected visit in the afternoon of Thursday, June 8 at the border between Togo and Ghana (Aflao) where Faure Gnassingbé exchanged with officials on the conditions of passage. He was there to inquire about difficulties during police and customs formalities.

Practical arrangements taken by Faure

Tearing in her eyes and full of emotion, a shopkeeper did not hesitate to tell the delegation about the ordeal she suffers on a daily basis. The payment of exorbitant taxes before making the return trip. Rackets are commonplace. Anything that calls for urgent action.

The ECOWAS new President has planned to put in place devices to better secure borders. He opted for the immediate installation of surveillance cameras at immigration and customs posts at the borders. This measure will considerably reduce harassment at the various borders: Hilacondji, Sanvi condji and others.

The surprise visit to this frontier this Thursday is the first of a series initiated by the new President-in-Office of ECOWAS.

Source :

In 2014, in Equatorial Guinea’s capital of Malabo, the African Union relaunched the continental African Agriculture Transformation agenda, the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Trade has become one of the new focus areas. What can we expect from the Malabo agenda for fostering intra-African agricultural trade? And what can we learn from CAADP implementation so far?

In 2003, African leaders took a first step towards reversing decades of neglect with a strong commitment to investing in agriculture. Through the Maputo Declaration at the second African Union (AU) summit, held in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, African heads of state and government made a bold promise: to allocate ten per cent of national budgets to agriculture and seek a six per cent annual agricultural growth rate. They also adopted a lead document that structured the programme into four thematic pillars. Regional agricultural trade was not a target as such, but it was conceptually covered by Pillar 2: “Rural Infrastructure and Trade-Related Capacities for Market Access”. This Pillar was supposed to promote all kinds of trade, from local to international.

In the 2014 Malabo Declaration on “CAADP and commitment to accelerate agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods”, regional agricultural trade is now one of the seven key commitments (see Box below). It has two clear targets:

    - Triple intra-Africa trade in agricultural commodities.
    - Fast-track continental free trade area & transition to a continental common external tariff scheme.

What can we expect from the Malabo agenda for fostering intra-African agricultural trade? What can we learn from 13 years of previous CAADP implementation?

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June 07, 2017 Written by
Published in News

"ECOWAS in Full Evolution", Says New Chair

Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe has been elected the new Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State of Government.

According to a Foreign Ministry release, President Gnassingbe’s election was announced at the end of the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held at the Farmington Hotel, Robertsfield, lower Margibi County, on Sunday, June 4. He took over from President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first female to serve as Chair of the ECOWAS Authority for a year.

Accepting the preferment, the Togolese President thanked his colleagues for the confidence reposed in him to lead the organization over the next 12 months. “Your choice of Togo, in my humble person, I hereby accept. I humbly accept not only with honor and pride but also and especially with a sense of responsibility and determination,” President Gnassingbe assured.

He seized the opportunity to express to his colleagues, on behalf of the Government and people of Togo, his gratitude and recognition for the unflinching support always shown them. He reflected on the confidence and trust the ECOWAS Authority assigned to Togo in spearheading the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease in the sub-region a few years ago when he served as supervisor of the ECOWAS initiative in the fight against the pandemic. “Now it’s also expressed in your trust in me as current Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority,” he said.


The objective of the dialogue was to bring together a critical mass of high-level actors, made up of policy makers at regional and national level, experts, private sector leaders, civil society, media, universities and centers Research partners and development partners to look at intra-regional trade support instruments in a framework of open and inclusive dialogue. This dialogue aims to give substance to the will of CACID and its partners, to help build the "Big Regional Consensus on ECOWAS Policies".

ACCRA, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Friday reiterated Ghana's commitment towards facilitating efforts at regional integration and unity.

He was speaking at the presidency during a meeting with Salou Djibo, head of the task force for the implementation of the sub-regional body (ECOWAS) Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS).

President Akufo-Addo said, with ECOWAS having been established some 42 years ago, and trade liberalization agreements being in existence for nearly 40 years, West Africa was yet to reap the benefits of intra-regional trade because of the absence of political will to make the bloc a functioning reality.

He said, with West Africa's population set to hit 500 million people by 2035, the region represented a genuine market with immense opportunities for trade, enterprise and ingenuity.

Djibo said the task force was encouraged with the progress made so far in ensuring the realization of the Free Trade Area (FTA) in West Africa.

He urged President Akufo-Addo to support the mandate and agenda of ETLS, and serve as an advocate for the team in ensuring that his colleague Heads of State adhered to the implementation and realization of the FTA.

Statistics indicate that Intra-African trade, as percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) as of 2013, stood at around nine percent, a figure that is low, compared to other regions of the world.

The ETLS is the main ECOWAS operational tool for promoting the West Africa region as a free trade area.


Source :

This mission, which is called "Task Force", is in Côte d'Ivoire since Saturday 15 April 2017. It is headed by its Excellency Djibo Salou, the former head of state of the Republic of Niger and composed of four members. This one-week mission aims at a total removal of tariff barriers and is part of the control, evaluation and application of regional regulatory texts. With a view to achieving a promotion of free movement in the ECOWAS area.

task force

Before this tour in Côte d'Ivoire, the members of this delegation had already visited Burkina Faso, Liberia in 2016. After this tour, the members of the Task Force plan to set sail for Ghana and Nigeria. In order to know the different levels of application of the regulatory texts in each country, the members of the delegation focused the exchanges around the reference themes of the ECOWAS summarized in thirty points in order to detect the shortcomings and take the necessary decisions.

In terms of achievements, the actors stressed, inter alia, the abolition of residence permits for migrants from ECOWAS, the application of the principle of non-discrimination in the legitimate business establishment, the creation of the national committee Monitoring the free movement of persons and vehicles, replicating the mechanism for the elimination of harassment on ECOWAS roads in member states. This, through a single point of security checks by all agencies at the point of departure and provision of the manifest for checking point of arrival to facilitate vehicle mobility.

However, the elimination of immunization card requirements (yellow booklet) for intra-regional mobility, the use of immigration and emigration forms, and the use of the ECOWAS national biometric card remain a cause for concern.

At the end of the meeting, the head of the delegation recalled that "Task Force" is an ad hoc advisory committee to resolve disputes between ECOWAS member states. He praised the efforts of the Ivorian government for the reduction of racketeering compared to the countries visited.

Daniel Assouman

Source :

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Information, communication and advocacy for the elimination of barriers to regional trade in West Africa.


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