Agriculture and Trade Critical for Regional Economic Development Across ECOWAS Member-States

  • Monday March 12, 2018 07:37 AM
  • NILS Press Corps
A 2-Day Dialogue Session on Intra-ECOWAS Trade and Value Chain for increased agricultural production and export stimulation begins on 19th March, 2018 as critical stakeholders across ECOWAS Member-states converge on Accra Ghana.

The dialogue will focus on how to enhance the capacity of ECOWAS parliamentarians for rationalizing intra-regional trade and negotiations in the global market through promotion of intra-ECOWAS trade and value chain for Agricultural Exports.

At the heart of the discourse, is the issue of Agriculture and Trade in the sub-region. During this regional Dialogue, participants are expected to come up with institutional solutions for improved market access with a view to fast-track legislative actions among the 15-member states.

Meanwhile, the session which is coming against the background of how most regional governments insensitivity to agriculture has continued to impede development, thereby creating problems such as food insecurity, trade imbalance, poverty, unemployment, insecurity and stagnant productivity in West Africa.

It would be recalled that in order to boost intra-ECOWAS trade, the leadership of ECOWAS has implemented a number of measures geared towards economic growth and development of the regional community. One of such schemes is the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS), which is the ECOWAS version of a Free Trade Area among the ECOWAS Member States.

Parliamentarians are expected to take full advantage of this dialogue session to improve their capacities in matters of sub-regional trade agreements and other binding trade commitments such as the Common External Tariff (CET) and the EU-West Africa Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and familiarize themselves with key issues in the scheme.

The Session on Intra-ECOWAS Trade and Value Chain for Agricultural Exports, which is organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, (NILDS) National Assembly, under the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) funded capacity building project, NILS-CAP, will open up discussions that would enhance the knowledge of Parliamentarians in the sub-region to legislate and monitor the implementation of these policies.

It is expected to re-inforce regional integration of ECOWAS as ECOWAS of peoples across the Anglophone, Lusophone and Francophone countries.
The session is targeting 80 participants drawn from Member Committees in charge of Trade and Agriculture, ECOWAS Parliament, counterpart Committees of National Parliaments of ECOWAS, African Development Bank (AfDB), ECOWAS Commission, European Union, Officials of Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the Agricultural and Trade Sectors in ECOWAS Member States, CSOs and NGOs as well as other stakeholders in the trade and agricultural sectors.