Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire re-elected to lead Executive Bureau of ECOWAS TPO Network
The ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organizations (TPO) Network has re-elected Nigeria as President and Côte d’Ivoire as Vice President to continue leading the organization in 2022 – 2023. Under their leadership, members confirmed the Network’s sustainability approaches after its focus on establishing operations in 2021.
Members of the ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organizations (TPO) Network gathered for their second annual general meeting on 19 and 20 May 2022 in Accra, Ghana to elect the Network’s President and Vice-President.
To ensure West African businesses build competitiveness, Network members approved a resource mobilization and partnerships strategy. The strategy will ensure staff are trained to improve the support West African businesses receive in B2B matchmaking and results-based management.
Emphasizing his commitment to expanding the Network’s outreach, President Ezra Yakusak called on members to continue working cohesively by sharing ideas and best practices. On behalf of the ECOWAS Commission, Acting Director of Trade Kolawole Sofola highlighted the Network’s role in enhancing the region's international recognition, reputation, credibility, and branding by promoting products and services originating from the region for sustainability and longevity.
During the meeting, Yakusak said: “The efforts of the ECOWAS TPO Network members are commendable and a sure path to expediting and accelerating a positive shift towards realizing our collective goal of economic integration. These achievements will also significantly increase trade within ECOWAS, Africa and beyond.”
Sofola confirmed: “Trade promotion organizations are important as they allow micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to build back better following recent external shocks. A strong partnership between the ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS TPO Network will enhance the region's international recognition and branding, as well as the promotion of ‘Made in West Africa’ products and services.”
The International Trade Centre’s Executive Director, Pamela Coke-Hamilton continued to say: “Resilience is what enables economies to withstand external shocks, and economies with competitive firms are resilient economies. Therefore, to be resilient, small businesses need strong connections to agile business support organizations such as trade promotion organizations.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Afua Asare said: “The advent of the AfCFTA regime presents a different construct with respect to trading in the region and trading with other RECs in Africa. Our ability to consolidate the gains we have chalked as a region and use such gains as the platform to move into the AfCFTA, will greatly impact our trade flows to Africa.”
Also present at the General Meeting was Timothy Dolan, Head of Economics and Private Sector Section of the European Union Delegation in Ghana. He said: “The operationalization of the ECOWAS TPO Network will better support the development of regional value chains and collaborative networks for regional sectoral associations and the organized private sector to establish business relations, conclude commercial transactions, set up technical collaborations and be a source of supply within ECOWAS & UEMOA and between ECOWAS and the European Union, as well as fostering South-South cooperation.”
At the meeting, the Network approved its 2022-2023 workplan and annual budget. Members also initiated preparations to take part in the 2022 West Africa Connect Event taking place in Accra, Ghana and the 2023 Intra-Africa Trade Fair taking place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.