Targeting support for trade facilitation in West Africa
The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) is teaming up with the International Trade Centre (ITC) to ensure full implementation of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement. ITC Executive Director Arancha González met the WAEMU group of ambassadors on 21 March 2014 to review ways to put the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement into action by addressing the needs of the WAEMU countries. They include Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The meeting, which took place at WAEMU headquarters in Geneva as part of the 6th Extraordinary Meeting of WAEMU Ambassadors, was led by the Ambassador of Benin to the United Nations, Mr. Séraphin Lissassi.
The ITC Executive Director said the organization has expertise to share in trade facilitation and enterprise competitiveness which will benefit small and medium-sized enterprises.
She explained that the ITC trade facilitation programme focuses on building the capacity of regional and national trade support institutions, improving dialogue between the public and private sectors, providing better access to trade-related information, and targeting private-sector involvement in the trade facilitation process.
WAEMU member countries are currently taking steps towards regional integration and trade facilitation. In 2013, WAEMU launched a trade facilitation programme with support from the World Bank to simplify customs procedures and reduce transaction costs among its members.