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West Africa Needs Regional Trade In Local Products - Borderless Alliance   
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Mr Ziad Hamoui, President, Borderless Alliance-Ghana, has advocated regional trade in locally made products among West African countries.

Addressing a bilateral workshop between border agencies on trade facilitation in West Africa at Aflao, he said that was the only way to improve commerce in the sub-region, create jobs and reduce poverty.

The workshop was organized by Borderless Alliance and Ghana Shippers Authority under the auspices of ECOWAS Commission in partnership with other regional and national partners including the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Organization (ALCO).

It is part of a 12-day regional trade facilitation activity dubbed, “Road Governance Caravan” on the Abidjan-Lagos corridor, which started from Abidjan on March 11 and will end March 23, in Lagos.

Mr Hamoui noted that while intra-trade in Europe was 71 per cent, Asia 53 per cent, and North America 48 per cent, Africa’s intra-regional trade stood at 15.65 per cent, with West Africa ranking third among the continent’s regional communities with only 10 per cent, and called for change.

He said for instance, “companies like Kasapreko, Latex Foam, Interplast, Tropical Cables, La Laitiere du Sahel and Ivorienne des plastique” should have the priority to export their products into West African markets.

Mr Hamoui said operators like, “Damco, DHL and Agility”, need not struggle when crossing borders with locally produced goods for West African markets and that it was only when African-based businesses were given the chance to trade across the region that the local economies could grow and uplift the living status of the people.

He said currently, Africa was “standing at a historical crossing”, and that it was important that the continent transformed its resources locally and reaped benefits of value chain-addition internally and desist from relying on export of raw materials.

Madam Benonita Mismark, Chef Executive Officer, Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), said the Lagos-Abidjan corridor played important role in trade and transport facilitation and recognized as critical to the socio-economic development of the region as it carried 60-70 per cent of ECOWAS trade and serve about 35 million people.

She said despite the importance of the corridor, poor road traffic regulations, numerous check points and bribery and corruption were affecting free flow of people and goods.

Mr Remy Moevi, 1st Vice Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Togo (CCIT), said the meeting would boost relationship between Ghana and Togo and ease border crossing hassles and improve trade among the nations.

Mr Justin Bayili, Executive Secretary, Borderless Alliance, said the 12-day caravan would help build “intelligent borders” and find solutions to financial challenges and improve border crossing time.
Source: GNA

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