Last week, the Trade Hub traveled to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to meet in a USAID-sponsored Partnership meeting with representatives of numerous other projects working in a specific region of Niger and Burkina Faso, and in particular the REGIS-AG and REGIS-ER projects. The Trade Hub met with numerous projects working in the region, and was able to specifically focus collaboration plans with two other USAID-funded projects based in West Africa, to identify areas of collaboration, strengthen partnerships, and create synergies for greater shared impact, especially in areas where objectives are overlapping.
Representing the Hub, Carol Adoum, Chief of Party, and Kokou Zotoglo, the Cereal Value Chain Specialist, met individually with representatives of the Food Across Borders Program (ProFAB) and Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel-Accelerated Growth (REGIS-AG) project. They discussed opportunities for trade-related Hub activities and identified areas of synergy with the other two projects.
Examples include working with the Ivorian, Burkinabe, and Niger governments to successfully remove the requirement for regional traders to produce certificates of origin for agricultural products at the border, as it is in direct violation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS). The Hub has also intervened in five countries—Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, and Benin—to boost intra-regional trade by reducing documentation requirements when traders cross borders, and hosting workshops to help traders and transporters understand how to complete and submit proper documentation for regional trade of goods, like livestock and cereals. They discussed future collaboration on business-to-business activities engaging both cereals and livestock traders and communicating to their stakeholders the various programs that will be upcoming during the year.
As an outcome of the meeting, the Hub will collaborate with ProFAB and REGIS-AG on several activities that will lead to the fulfillment of complementary project objectives.
As one of ProFAB’s main objectives is to formulate and implement effective regional policies and strategies to address the barriers to regional agricultural trade, ProFAB will organize, in collaboration with the Trade Hub, three advocacy programs. Activities will center around an awareness campaign targeting law enforcement officials, transporters and cross-border traders. These programs will boost cross-border trade for livestock and staple food producers and traders in five countries: Mali- Burkina Faso, Nigeria-Niger, and Senegal- Gambia- Guinea.
REGIS-AG aims to boost the incomes of vulnerable households by increasing the performance and inclusiveness of the cowpea (legume), poultry, and small ruminants value chains in Niger and Burkina Faso. The project will work with the Hub to create commercial linkages between small ruminant breeders and traders. This includes working together to organize Operation Tabaski 2017 and help move livestock from the Sahel to secondary markets along the West African coastal market to increase sales for farmers.