Sikasso Roadshow : trade actors in concertation to remove barriers to food trade within West Africa

The Program Food Across Borders (ProFAB), in collaboration with the Borderless Alliance and PRAPS, organized an awareness workshop on trade barriers on the Bobo Dioulasso - Sikasso - Korogho axis, in Sikasso on 23 and 24 March 2017.

Economic operators, transporters, control agents (police, customs, gendarmerie) from Burkina, Mali and Côte d'Ivoire joined the organizers to discuss the obstacles preventing the free movement of agricultural goods as required by the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS). According to Justin Bayili, Executive Secretary of the Borderless Alliance, the aim of this activity is to create a framework for dialogue between public and private actors to discuss common challenges and thus promote a better understanding of the issues, in order to facilitate commercial transactions, particularly those of agro pastoral products.

An important potential according to CILSS experts

In this area, trade is estimated at more than $ 12 billion for agricultural products and more than $ 160 billion for livestock. In general, it is mainly maize, vegetable oils, root and tuber products that leave Côte d'Ivoire for Burkina Faso and Mali; While livestock trade follows the opposite direction. Across the region, livestock transactions can contribute up to 40% of agricultural GDP in some countries such as Niger and Mali, and in some cases they are the second largest source of export earnings after the extractive industries. Also, milk produced in this region can provide up to 40% of the incomes of some households.

Many obstacles on the corridors and at the borders!

Despite these opportunities, regional trade is facing several obstacles named: the road harassments that are the subject of the Sikasso Roadshow.

These difficulties are characterized by repetitive checks on the various transit corridors, illegal payments and loss of time. Despite the regional regulatory texts that set the control posts to 3 from the point of departure to the border and destination, an average of 7 to 10 posts are observed in this region. Illegal payments on parboiled rice (the most product affected by this phenomenon) are estimated to average more than 130,000 FCFA / 100 km

Such practices are reflected in the final cost of these goods and, consequently in food security of vulnerable population. In the opinion of the Road Governance Assistant Barthelemy Sidibe: ”Due to harassment, there is not even a record of data in terms of the volume of cereals transiting at the borders", which tends to compromise statistics.”

From the debates, responsibility seems to be shared between operators who often demonstrate an almost absolute ignorance of the regulations and their duties. On the other hand, control officers tend to take advantage of this ignorance and the situation of insecurity that prevail in the region.

It is possible to eliminate obstacles

According actors, the efforts made by the Ivorian authorities have given salutary results and make the country an example for the other countries.

Several recommendations are made to overcome these tariff and non-tariff barriers that continue to hamper food trade in West Africa. Training and awareness of all actors on the regulatory laws, the common use of NICTs through the development of computer systems in the control and monitoring of corridors, professionalization, identification of control agents, and the promotion of social values are some identified actions by the participants.

Finally, they all appreciated the workshop initiative, bringing together all stakeholders involved in border and corridor trade. Therefore, they asked the ProFAB and its partners, including the Borderless Alliance, the CILSS and the PRAPS to hold more regular meetings of this kind in all the countries of ECOWAS.

According to Justin Bayili Executive Secretary of the Borderless Alliance, these were the expected results. This activity aim to establish a framework for dialogue between public and private sector actors to discuss common challenges and then facilitate foods trade transactions

Pictures

Papa Alassane Mbaye

ProFAB Communication Officer

Read 1211 times Last modified on Friday, 31 March 2017 11:48
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Information, communication and advocacy for the elimination of barriers to regional trade in West Africa.

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