20th report marks a milestone for USAID-UEMOA collaboration on road governance

Thursday, January 31 2013

Christophe Bruyas, USAID Trade Hub Road Governance Team Leader

In 2005, UEMOA, the eight-member group of francophone countries and Ghana, asked the USAID Trade Hub to develop a methodology to monitor the extent of checkpoints, delays and bribes along primary trade corridors in West Africa. Initially, it only included corridors connecting coastal ports in Ghana and Togo to the landlocked capitals of Burkina Faso and Mali.

UEMOA would analyze the data and collate the statistics – and both organizations would publish the results – hoping that confronted with the reality, agencies operating checkpoints would take action to reduce delays and bribery.

Quarterly reports include a map that show checkpoints along primary trade corrid
Quarterly reports include a map that show checkpoints along primary trade corridors in West Africa.

Six years later, stakeholders broadly agree that the initiative has worked. Delays and bribes have fallen and in one instance a country, Togo, has eliminated all of its police and gendarme checkpoints. Four additional countries have joined the initiative since it began, too: Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Senegal. The initiative passed a milestone when its 20th report was released in December 2012.

“Undoubtedly, the quarterly reports have had an impact,” said Yaya Yedan, country representative of the Burkina Shippers’ Council in Ghana.

The reports serve as the basis for a variety of communications and outreach activities undertaken by the USAID Trade Hub. Every quarter, thousands of stakeholders participate in “roadshows”, thousands more receive updates in email on the indicators and numerous published and broadcast reports bring the news to millions across West Africa.

The reports also galvanize the private sector, leading to the launch of the Borderless campaign in 2010 and the Borderless Alliance, a USAID Trade Hub-supported private sector coalition, in 2011. The Alliance began with three members and now has more than 50. The reports foster collaboration between development partners: the World Bank and sister USAID projects contribute to the report.

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9th USAID/UEMOA Report (3rd quarter 2009)
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