Momentum is growing to improve trade and transport conditions in West Africa. Despite new and existing policies vital for trade liberalization, such as the recent Common External Tariff, many obstacles persist. An unofficial trade continues to dominate, especially in staple commodities.
The Trade Hub works closely with regional and national partners to improve transport efficiency and strengthen the trade enabling environment, especially in our targeted sectors. We promote transport market liberalization and free trade across West Africa and advocate for a simplified free trade area for members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
The Trade Hub concentrates efforts along specific trade corridors, where bottlenecks can be tackled in a bilateral and national context. Our corridor-specific policy work is closely integrated with other project initiatives, including our value chain development activities.
The project is tackling the West African trade and transport enabling environment by:
- Supporting professionalization of the transport sector, including promoting fleet upgrades, training fleet and individual operators, and educating on transportation regulations.
- Improving road governance monitoring and reporting efforts, in conjunction with our partners.
- Advocating for implementation of effective trade and transport policies, in collaboration with regional organizations, West African governments, and donors.
- Building the capacity of our partner organizations.
- Identifying and addressing trade constraints and upgrading eight Border Information Centers: two at the Nigeria–Benin border, one at the Togo–Ghana border, two at the Ghana–Burkina Faso border, two at the Ghana–Côte d’Ivoire border, and one at the Port of Dakar in Senegal.
- To improve the trade and transport environment, the Trade Hub is collaborating with Borderless Alliance, a public-private advocacy group; the Hub Rural, a West African NGO; the Permanent Interstates Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS); the Burkina Shippers Council (CBC); and West African governments.
Trade and Transport News
- December 29, 2016 In direct violation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS), the certificate of origin (COO) requirement hinders the free movement of agricultural goods across West African borders. The Trade Hub’s direct advocacy efforts have helped eliminate this requirement in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, and now, Benin. This month, the Government of Benin agreed to enforce ...Read more
- November 14, 2016 Visitors to the Trade Hub website can now engage directly with project staff through the “Ask our Experts” section to ask questions related to the Hub’s four key activity areas: regional commodities, global exports and AGOA, trade and transport, and finance and investment. “We wanted to make it easier for people to contact our experts when ...Read more
- November 14, 2016 From October 31 to November 4, 47 regional small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) convened in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire to share the challenges of growing their businesses and accessing international markets. This included specific conversations with officials from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and West African Monetary Zone (UEMOA) on how SMEs can ...Read more
- October 17, 2016 The Trade Hub’s efforts to ease regional agricultural trade received a major boost in mid-October when Togolese authorities issued a circular to make it illegal to ask for a certificate of origin for agricultural commodities at the country’s borders. Demanding certificates of origin for fresh staple crops—often a pretext for demanding a bribe—violates the ECOWAS Trade ...Read more
Trade Hub launches Capacity Building program for the Senegalese National Sub-Committee on Trade FacilitationOctober 3, 2016At a two-day seminar in Dakar, Senegal, the Trade Hub partnered with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) to launch a capacity building program for Sous-Comité National sur la Facilitation des Echanges (SCNFE), the Senegalese national sub-committee on trade facilitation. In April 2016, the Trade Hub and ...Read more
- September 29, 2016 When Kouraogo Momouni began transporting racehorses across the Ghana-Upper Volta border with his uncles in 1960, things were much different. Then only 12 years old, he had thought that selling racehorses at the Accra Polo grounds would be his lifelong vocation. Soon, people began requesting other animals, and his family’s racehorse business expanded to make ...Read more
- September 15, 2016 Côte d’Ivoire’s nascent National Trade Facilitation Committee (NFTC) received practical guidance to understand and fully activate provisions of the recently ratified Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) at a September 8-9 meeting organized by the Trade Hub, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the International Trade Center. At the meeting, 43 public and private ...Read more
Newly formed ETLS Task Force meets to plan high-level advocacy for tackling trade issues in West AfricaAugust 16, 2016A task force constituted to fully implement West Africa’s free trade zone protocols held its first meeting in Ghana’s capital Accra, August 11-12, to discuss modalities and adopt a roadmap and action plan for its work. In the months leading up to the meeting, the Trade Hub and regional partners provided technical input to the ...Read more
- April 25, 2016 The Trade Hub’s transport partner, the Borderless Alliance, successfully installed six billboards in April in Ghana along the Tema-Ouagadougou trade route to Burkina Faso, as part of its campaign to abolish road harassment along the corridor. The billboards, funded by the Trade Hub, send the message (in French and English) that truckers need to comply ...Read more
- March 9, 2016 The Trade Hub and its transport partner, Borderless Alliance, held a day’s compliance training for Burkinabe livestock traders and transporters on March 3 in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. About 100 traders and transporters, who bring livestock to coastal markets in Ghana, participated in the training, which contributes to the Hub’s strategy of reducing ...Read more
- March 4, 2016 On February 3, Burkina Faso’s customs office issued a new policy circular, effectively banning border officials from demanding certificates of origin from agricultural importers at Burkinabe borders. This announcement reflected previous discussions with the Trade Hub and partner Borderless Alliance, who met with Burkinabe customs officials in January to isolate ongoing violations of ECOWAS Trade ...Read more
- January 25, 2016 Coming soon to billboards along Ghana’s main north-south corridor: Bribery is Illegal. Both the Giver and the Taker are Guilty. To Avoid Road Harassment, Be Compliant! Transit Trade Benefits Ghana and its Neighbors – Break the Cycle of Corruption on our Roads. Beginning February 29, the Borderless Alliance (BA), a Trade Hub partner, will roll out six new strategically ...Read more
- December 14, 2015 The Trade Hub’s Chongo Mukupa and Barbara Rippel of the Trade and Transport Enabling Environment sector connected with international organizations and players helping to implement the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO/TFA) at a regional workshop November 17-19, 2015 in Lomé, Togo. “Strategic Initiatives for Trade Facilitation”—organized by the World Customs Organization in conjunction ...Read more
- December 14, 2015 Breakthrough: In northern Côte d’Ivoire, exporters of food crops in the Bouake region will no longer have to provide certificates of origin for agricultural commodities as they cross borders as stipulated in the “Note de Service” or policy circular 01 of March 2015. Though contrary to the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS)—approved decades ago to ...Read more
- October 1, 2015 Update: Checkpoints along Ghana’s central corridor drop by 36% during a year of advocacy West Africa’s roads have long been plagued by checkpoints—official and unofficial stops that slow cargo transport. Slowly but steadily, illegal checkpoints are disappearing from Ghana’s central transit corridor, a major route for cargo to and from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger—thanks to ...Read more