The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the World Bank Group co-hosted two workshops in Ghana from October under the European Union Funded Improved and Facilitated Trade in West Africa Project.
The project aims to improve the flow of regional and international trade, by unlocking transit challenges across key trade corridors in West Africa.
Over 100 participants, including stakeholders from the public and private sectors affiliated with the Tema Port, and representatives from the ECOWAS Commission, the European Union, the World Bank Group, attended both workshops last week.
Mr. Louali Chaibou, Commissioner, Trade Customs and Free Movement, ECOWAS Commission said “The Economic Community of West African States is committed to implementing programmes that facilitate regional integration and making it work for private sector operators and the people of West Africa.”
The first workshop, held on October 10-11, brought together the private sector and selected public sector bodies from the Tema Port to review port assessment process maps to ensure accuracy and completeness.
A discussion was held on how to use the maps as transparency tools to help level the playing field for traders and port service providers.
A number of reform proposals were developed and aimed at improving and modernising the port experience.
“Our greatest hope is to realise tangible outcomes from the very intensive and passionate discussions with the aim of making Ghana the best and preferred port in West Africa,” said Benny Dolphyne, Sea freight Manager, Bollore Transport & Logistics.
A second meeting was held on October 13 with the public sector stakeholders from having a responsibility at the Tema Port and selected private sector stakeholders.
The aim was to review the port assessment maps and discuss the reform proposals from the private sector workshop held earlier in the week. The intended outcome was to agree on a reform action plan to improve trade facilitation within the Tema Port.
Benoist Bazin – Team Leader, Infrastructure and Sustainable Development who represented Ambassador William Hanna, Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana said,” The fact that the European Union is financing this project is a testimony of the importance we give to our relationship with West Africa which is both historical and economic.”
“We believe also in the promotion of the private sector as an engine for an economic and social development of West Africa. Our support to improving trade conditions is a priority of the EU cooperation with the region,” he said
Ronke-Amoni Ogunsulire, IFC Country Manager for Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Togo “West African countries have enormous potential to strengthen competitiveness and increase trade flows, which can drive growth, reduce poverty, and deliver jobs to the sub-region. The World Bank Group is pleased to be working in partnership with regional organisations, member states, the private sector and development partners to help these countries unlock transit challenges along key trade corridors, and improve their competitiveness within the global economy.
The Improved and Facilitated Trade in West Africa Project is a four-year initiative that was launched in November 2014. The €3, 5 million project seeks to support ECOWAS to improve trade in the West African region and, specifically transit trade along the region’s major trade corridors.
It focuses on reducing the time and cost to trade, and increasing border agency cooperation and coordination, to encourage a better flow of goods within the region, and with international trading partners.
By Times Reporter