ITC moves to consolidate trade information in West Africa

30 October 2019
ITC News

ITC begins discussions to install trade map tool on the ECOWAS website

(Abuja/Geneva) – The International Trade Centre (ITC) has initiated preliminary discussions with the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to launch a customized Trade Map tool for the West African region.

The trade information tool will serve as a key resource for business owners seeking to identify potential business partners in the region. Through an ECOWAS trade portal, Trade map users will review up-to-date trade statistics, an outline of applicable regional tariffs and existing public tenders available in the region.

‘The installation of the Trade Map tool is a significant first step towards achieving ITC’s larger mandate of providing comprehensive trade data and intelligence for the entire continent through the Africa Trade Observatory as tasked by the African Union. Direct access to this tool will give West African MSMEs valuable data to pursue their strategic business objectives including for intra-African trade,’ said Ashish Shah, ITC Director of Division of Country Programmes.

Trade Map users have access to a directory of buyers and sellers across the world, export performance indicators, competitive and alternative markets. The monitoring tool currently covers over 220 countries and retains the information of over 5,000 products listed in the Harmonised System – the international nomenclature for the classification of products.

‘Trade Map will particularly ease the identification of traditional, alternative and new markets for goods and services as well as opportunities for new investments. We consider the Map as a key tool for deepening economic integration in ECOWAS, enhancing enterprise and regional competitiveness and connecting our economies to global value chains and markets,’ described Mamadou Traoré, ECOWAS Commissioner of Industry and Private Sector Promotion.

The embedding of the Trade Map onto the ECOWAS website comes as part of ITC’s objectives for the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) to introduce a set of transformative technological tools and establish a competitive business climate in the ECOWAS region.

In addition to the Trade Map, ITC is also expanding the use of its Trade Alert Obstacles Mechanism (TOAM) tool, which is already implemented in the francophone West African region of UEMOA. The alert tool tracks trade barriers at a national and regional level for SMEs and MSMEs. Access to this trade intelligence gives a wealth of trade data information, ensuring MSMEs have both a regional and global outlook for their business products.

Notes for the Editors

The West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) aims to support a number of selected value chains at national and regional level to promote structural transformation and better access to regional and international markets, while taking into account social and environmental concerns. Its overall objective is to strengthen competitiveness of West African countries and enhance their integration into the regional and international trading system.

Specifically, the programme will work to:
• Improve the performance, growth and contribution to industry, regional trade and exports of selected value chains, and
• Improve the business climate at national and regional levels.

The WACOMP consists of one regional component and sixteen national components (15 ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania). For more information, please visit

About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, visit Follow ITC on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a 15-member regional group with a mandate to promote economic integration. As a trading union, ECOWAS aims to create a single, large trading block through economic cooperation.

For more information, please visit


International Trade Centre
Jarle Hetland, Media Officer
P: + 41 22 730 0145
M: + 41 79 582 9180
E: hetland [at] (hetland[at]intracen[dot]org)

Chief Technical Adviser
West Africa Competitiveness Programme
P: + 234 909 598 9797
M: +234 9076294884
E: natasha.aniekwu [at] (natasha[dot]aniekwu[at]intracen[dot]org)

Obiananma Agbim
Project Administrative Assistant
West Africa Competitiveness Programme
P: +234 8025484074
E: Obiananma.agbim [at] (Obiananma[dot]agbim[at]intracen[dot]org)