ECOWAS 1At a ceremony presided over by the President of the ECOWAS Commission Kadre Desire Ouedrago at its headquarters in Abuja, ECOWAS and its partners have on Wednesday 26th November launched an economic integration an trade support programme worth over 40million Euros.

To be implemented in a three-year span by UN industrial Development Orgaanisation, the World Bank and German development coopeation agency GIZ, the project seeks to accelerate the process of achieving customs union by supporting the ECOWAS Commission improve the Trade Liberalisation Scheme, develop a common trade policy, facilitating the harmonisation of trade related policies and statistical data, as well as disseminating trade related information.

According to the ECOWAS President, the launching marks the conclusion of a long partnership process whose governing texts were signed in Strasbourg in November 2008. This process he said, committed the West African region and the European Union to a cooperation agreement through the 10th EDF RIP.

“This welcome commitment is once again reflected by the significant contribution of EUR 40 million in support of the economic and trade integration process and the West African private sector competitiveness sport programme,” said President Ouedrago.

“Indeed, while ensuring the common markets, the projects enable our region’s integration into the global economy while ensuring the competitiveness of our private sector by improving the business climate,” he added.

The ECOWAS President commended the choice of the project’s components, which he said, “not only contribute to addressing the challenges in the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), but also asserts the important role of the private sector plays in promoting West African integration”.

He also reiterates the political commitment to driving these sectors, and commend the leadership of the Heads of State and Government, particularly regarding the free movement of goods and persons, in the implementation of the trade liberalisation schemes, as well as the provision of quality regional infrastructures.

“It is obvious that the ultimate goal of these projects is economic growth and poverty reduction. The goal can however not be attained without taking due account of the new social challenges. Nor can it be achieved without the consolidation of peace, stability and democracy in West Africa,” said Ouedra

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