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
- September 4, 2017 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 ...Read more
- August 28, 2017 Certain administrative barriers to trade in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have been eliminated on paper for decades. But the gap between policy and reality has meant that those trading agricultural staples across West African borders are still asked for certificates of origin (COO) despite these being rendered moot under the ECOWAS ...Read more
- August 28, 2017 The last of four workshops for the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) of Côte d’Ivoire validated and finalized their preparations to implement the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO-TFA). Organized by the Trade Hub and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Aug. 15-18 meeting in Grand Bassam drew 30 participants ...Read more
- August 14, 2017 At the Hub’s urging, the governments of Guinea and Mali have agreed to formally drop a moot requirement that traders of staple crops and livestock produce Certificates of Origin (COO), which adds time and costs to trade throughout the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In direct violation of the three decades-old ECOWAS Trade Liberalization ...Read more
- July 4, 2017 Djembe Communications, the firm hired by the Trade Hub to support Borderless Alliance (BA) to revamp its visibility, communications, marketing and sustainability strategy, has successfully completed the work. Through this assistance, Djembe updated BA’s communication strategy, audited BA’s website and social media channels, reviewed its communication materials and identified fundraising opportunities. At the end of ...Read more
- July 4, 2017 In Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from June 13-16 and in Dakar, Senegal from June 20-23, the Trade Hub contracted the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to partner together to train National Trade Facilitation Committees (NTFCs) on effectively implementing the World Trade Organization-Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO-TFA). Experts from UNCTAD, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and ...Read more
- June 19, 2017 Following a 2016 organizational capacity assessment of its trade and transport partner, the Trade Hub organized a three-day training on project management and proposal development for Borderless Alliance, May 30-June 2. Ms. Carol Yee, a Trade Hub consultant, took Borderless officials through project start-up, mobilization plan, sub-contract management, field office operations, and contingency planning. Other topics ...Read more
- May 22, 2017 The Trade Hub participated in the annual conference of Borderless Alliance—a West African trade and transport advocacy organization and Trade Hub partner—in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from May 10-12. The Trade Hub’s Mr. Chongo Mukupa, Trade and Transport Facilitation Specialist, and Mr. Kossi Dahoui, Transport Facilitation Specialist, were among the over 100 participants from the private ...Read more
- May 3, 2017 The Trade Hub on April 26 presented 50 machines for five production lines, each of which focuses on different parts of shirts, to West Africa’s largest apparel manufacturer, Dignity DTRT apparel at its factory in Accra, enabling it to ramp up orders from a large U.S. sportswear retailer. In November, Dignity DTRT requested the Hub’s assistance ...Read more
- May 3, 2017 Regional stakeholders held an April 21 meeting in the Senegalese capital Dakar to discuss creating a scorecard for monitoring and publicizing implementation of the region’s free-trade agreement: the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS). Participants included the Trade Hub’s Chief of Party Carol Adoum and Trade and Transport Facilitation Specialist, Chongo ...Read more
- April 10, 2017 The Hub’s Transport Specialist, Mr. Kossi Dahoui, contributed expertise to a road show organized by the Borderless Alliance and the USAID-funded Food Across Borders program in Sikasso, southern Mali. Participants numbering about 70 included government officials, representatives of women traders associations and exporters and importers of agricultural produce as well as officials of partner projects including ...Read more
- March 20, 2017 Fifty West African buyers and sellers (including nearly 30 women) from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Guinea gathered in Bamako, Mali, for the fifth cereals exchange organized by the Trade Hub in collaboration with the NGO Afrique Verte and the West African Grain Network (WAGN). The March 8-10 event offered a platform for producers and ...Read more
Workshops National Trade Facilitation Committees (NTFCs) in Abidjan and Dakar support implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation AgreementMarch 20, 2017Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal hosted the second training sessions of their National Trade Facilitation Committees (NTFC) in the first half of March 2017. The three-day workshops—organized by the Trade Hub in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) followed up to the initial training that was carried out in September at ...Read more
- 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