On August 28, Trade Hub staff met with representatives from the ECOWAS Commission and other regional stakeholders at Trade Hub offices in Accra to move forward with the development of the ETLS Scorecard. Since November 2016, the Trade Hub has been collaborating with the Food Across Borders (ProFAB) Project to create a simple but effective tool to help the ECOWAS Commission report on member states’ ETLS implementation status. The ETLS Scorecard will show each country’s level of compliance to the ETLS protocol, practices hindering full ETLS implementation, and efforts underway to improve compliance. The Scorecard is also expected to identify common areas of concern and help the ECOWAS Commission, individual member nations, and development partners to properly structure programs to help implementation of the scheme to accelerate intra-regional trade.
This August meeting followed from a regional stakeholders meeting held in April in Dakar where participants agreed on the need for a way to monitor and publicize the status of implementation of the region’s free-trade agreement: the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS).
The goal of this meeting was to examine, together with ECOWAS representatives, work done by Trade Hub consultants Daniel Plunkett and Dr. Amadou Abdoulaye Fall to define a framework for implementing the Scorecard. Participants also included Carol Adoum, the Trade Hub’s Chief of Party; Chongo Mukupa, Trade and Transport Facilitation Specialist at the Trade Hub; Cheikh Dieye, Executive Director at African Centre for Trade, Integration and Development (CACID); Bio Goura Soule, Coordinator, from ProFAB; Ayssata Koffi, Program Officer for Free Trade Area from ECOWAS; Amanda Bisong, Head of the GIZ Trade and Customs Support Program to ECOWAS; and Cory O’Hara, Team Lead from USAID’s Office of Trade and Investment.
Carol Adoum stated “What has been missing in our work on ETLS policy implementation is a system that will gauge how the region and individual countries are succeeding in their efforts to implement the ETLS. This Scorecard meets that observational and reporting need. This Scorecard can function not only as a reporting tool but also can serve as a positive incentive by holding up those countries where ETLS implementation is succeeding as positive models. During this meeting, it was clear that the ECOWAS Commission is dedicated to ensuring that these tools are used to further drive economic integration and growth in West Africa.”
Daniel Plunkett and Amadou Abdoulaye Fall led the discussion on the proposed framework for implementing the Scorecard. The framework was developed by these two Trade Hub consultants following consultations with 150 stakeholders in ETLS Trade from eight Member States, including officials from the ECOWAS and UEMOA (West African Economic and Monetary Union) Commissions. The framework to guide the ECOWAS Commission in the implementation of the Scorecard includes indicators that measure compliance, a methodology for data collection, legal and administrative provision, as well as provisions to publish the Scorecard results and ensure sustainability of the practice.
The consultants will use input from the August 28 meeting to refine the framework. The Trade Hub will hand it over to the ECOWAS Commission for adoption and implementation.
More information about the Trade Hub’s efforts to create a vibrant enabling environment for regional trade in West Africa here.