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ECOWAS TPO to deepen intra-Africa exports beyond 16 per cent

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Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with the International Trade Centre (ITC). Photo/facebook/Ecowas.Cedeao/

The Economic and Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion (TPO) Network, has said it would work towards facilitating the ease of business by increasing the volume of trade within the region, adding that it will build an army of exporters that will boost intra-Africa trade.

The Network, while noting that intra-Africa exports only account for about 16 per cent of Africa’s global export, said the region’s trade only accounts for a 10th of member-states global trade.

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President of ECOWAS TPO Network, Olusegun Awolowo, made this known yesterday, at the launch and first yearly general meeting of the Network in Abuja.

Awolowo reiterated the need to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), adding that the establishment of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) was a step in the right direction to increase trade in the region.

He added that the low utilisation of the scheme, especially among Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which account for a large proportion of economic activities within the region, highlights the need for more efforts.

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“Several reviews that highlighted the challenges hindering the utilisation of the ETLS showed that they are centred around lack of adequate information on the existence, enrollment, endowment, enforcement, expenses and entry strategies.

“It is therefore imperative that through the TPO network, we work towards facilitating the ease of trade for our MSMEs within the ECOWAS region and Africa at large, thereby building an army of exporters that will boost intra-Africa trade”, he said.

He added that economic integration in the sub-region will be further deepened.

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In her remarks, Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mrs Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, said the network would play a major role in strengthening economic and commercial cooperation among member States and beyond.

She however assured the Network of the EU’s continuous support.

Also, the President, ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claud Kassi Brou, while reiterating commitment to partner with the Network, said they will continue to provide guidance in line with the decision of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers.

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