The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is in the process of designing a Regional Corridor Development and Management Strategy and Action Plan.
It is to advance the Regional integration agenda of the ECOWAS Commission through enhancement and facilitation of trade advancement of free movement of community citizens and exchange of services.
Dr Antoinette Weeks, Commissioner for Infrastructure, ECOWAS Commission commended the USAID trade and investment hub for facilitating the timely technical and financial support to help the strategy on the development and management of the regional trade and transport corridor.
Dr Weeks was speaking at the opening of a validation workshop on interim report on the study of the ECOWAS Corridor Management and Development Strategy and Action Plan in Accra.
The workshop provide opportunities for a fuller discussion and reach consensus on the strategy, action plan and viability analysis of corridor projects and also allow the study’s final four outputs to be based on the strategy agreed on at the workshop.
The objective of the study is to develop a holistic strategy and action plan for the implementation of the interstate Corridor Management Institutions (CMIs) to improve the efficiency of the transport corridors.
It is also to propose a regional coordination mechanism for CMIs with these institutions playing an improved transport network operations, trade and transport facilitation, free movement of person and security.
She said the region’s existing transport corridors were currently not adequately supporting intra-regional trade and free movement,
“Our corridors are riddled with too many physical and soft barriers, which are unwelcoming to the regional integration agenda of the ECOWAS Community.”
She said the Commission believed that it was the collective responsibility as individuals appointed by various governments to do their part in making significant improvements in advancing the region’s transport and trade sectors.
Ms Carol Adoum, Chief of Party, USAID West Africa Trade and Investment Hub said the study would also indicate the benefit to each member country on how to manage trans-border issues.
She said other forms of requirement for trade facilitations should be recognised within the sub-regional level but each member countries want separate recognitions.
In January 2005, the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS adopted decision that established an institutional framework to ensure the smooth flow of goods and persons on an efficient network of transport corridors across the ECOWAS region.
However, limited success has been achieved in establishing and operationalizing corridor management committees in member states.
The ECOWAS Commission with support from USAID through the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub initiated a study to review the West African experience and propose a strategy and action plan for the achievement of corridor goals that takes into account lessons learned from international experience.
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