Region’s fifth Border Information Center opens at Cote d’Ivoire-Ghana border

Friday, May 31 2013

Craig Duncan

West Africa’s fifth Border Information Center has opened on the Noe-Elubo border between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Like the other Border Information Centers in the region, the center aims to increase cross-border trade by providing information and assistance to cross-border traders, and by advocating for improvements in transit procedures.

Representatives of the governments of Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and the U.S. cut the
Representatives of the governments of Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and the U.S. cut the ribbon at the opening of West Africa's fifth Border Information Center.
“Delays at borders and the costs incurred prevent businesses from expanding – and as a result, businesses are unable to create jobs that reduce poverty,” said U.S. Ambassador Phillip Carter III. “When business flourishes – which it will when costs and delays are reduced – companies create more jobs.  Further, jobs give people dignity and lay the foundation necessary for stability and progress in every society.”

Initiated as a pilot in 2011 at the Ghana-Togo border by the USAID Trade Hub and the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Border Information Centers have proven to reduce congestion and harassment. 

The first center quickly led to a reduction in cargo clearance times of two days. This level of success has been replicated in  further centers, such as the Seme-Krake center on the border of Nigeria and Benin which opened last December. The center there successfully persuaded authorities on the Benin side to remove seven unofficial checkpoints.

Dr. Kofi Mbiah, CEO of the Ghana Shippers' Authority,  called for greater cooper
Dr. Kofi Mbiah, CEO of the Ghana Shippers' Authority, called for greater cooperation between Ghanaian and Ivoirian stakeholders at the opening of the Border Information Center at the Côte d'Ivoire-Ghana border.
“Removing trade barriers will lower costs and hence reduce prices, which benefits both consumers of final products, and firms that need to use materials and other inputs from abroad,” said Paul Brenton, the World Bank’s Trade Practice Manager for Africa at the 2013 Borderless Alliance conference in February. The BICs are directly aimed at identifying and removing barriers at the border.

“The impacts of (removing trade barriers) are likely to be huge,” Brenton said.

The Noe-Elubo center is supported by USAID Business Environments for Agile Markets, in close partnership with the Ghana Shippers’ Authority and l’Office Ivoirien des Chargeurs, USAID West Africa Trade Hub, and the multi-stakeholder advocacy group, Borderless Alliance. The opening ceremony on May 23 was attended by dignitaries including representatives of the Ghanaian and Ivoirian Ministries of Transport and the US Ambassadors to both countries.

“The Ghana Shippers’ Authority calls upon the governments of both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to further improve border crossings by implementing joint border posts,” said Dr. Kofi Mbiah, chief executive of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, which is implementing the center. “The Border Information Center represents constructive work in this direction.”

The new Border Information Center on the Côte d'Ivoire side of the Ghana-Côte d'
The new Border Information Center on the Côte d'Ivoire side of the Ghana-Côte d'Ivoire border.
The Noe-Elubo Border Information Center now welcomes inquiries and requests from traders seeking assistance in crossing the Ghana-Côte d’Ivoire border. Traders in West Africa can find similar assistance at the centers on the main border crossings between Ghana and Togo, Burkina Faso and Ghana, and Benin and Nigeria, as well as at the Port of Dakar in Senegal.

Five Border Information Centers now provide information and assistance to trader
Five Border Information Centers now provide information and assistance to traders across West Africa - including at the Port of Dakar, not visible here.

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1 comment

JORIN wrote 31 weeks 5 days ago

Fast-tracking A Borderless West Africa

Another giant step in smoothening cross-border trade in West Africa. However, much still need to be done to get Nigeria reduce the number of check-points along the road from  Seme border/Badagary to Lagos as well as the other border posts around the country. Yes, to a Borderless West Africa!

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