AU, ECOWAS and partners organize regional training for journalists to boost awareness on WTO-TFA and AfCFTA Agreements in the ECOWAS Region
In a bid to sensitizejournalists on the function of the WorldTrade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with the Trade Facilitation West Africa (TFWA) Programme and the GIZ – AU Programme Supportto the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), executedby the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is hosting a four-day intensiveworkshop. Holding in Abuja, Nigeria, the workshop which commenced on the 29th of November and will end on the 2nd of December 2022 brought together over 30 journalists from 10 ECOWAS Countries, including Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana,Liberia, Niger, Nigeria,Senegal, Sierra Leone,and Togo. The overarching objectiveis to train and build the capacities of the selectedjournalists to accurately report and provide critical input on trade facilitation policies (advocacy and monitoring) including the AfCFTA and WTO - TFA. Speaking on behalf of Madam Massandjie Toure-Liste, ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Economic Affairsand Agriculture, Dr Sacko Seydoustated, “We believethat this trainingon the TFA and the AfCFTA will help create a better understanding on the dimensions and the benefits when these two agreements are appliedin all sectors of ECOWASmember states. The public sector,private sector, civil society, academia,and the media will be able to quickly take ownership of them and use them more effectively. Furthermore, the successful implementation of the TFA and the AfCFTArelies heavily on a good communication systemthat should help inform and sensitize all economic and social actors in a participatory, equitable and inclusive approach,with the ultimateobjective of ensuring their ownership of these Agreements.” Dr. Sacko affirmed that The ECOWAS Commission is convinced of the important role journalists play in their communities. The ultimate objective is to contribute to the construction of a network of journalists specialized in trade in the ECOWAS region and at the continental level. He highlighted that “We count on their significant efforts to strengthen regional integration throughthe expansion of intra-regional trade”.
Representing Mr. Ludwig Kirchner, the GIZ ECOWAS Cluster Coordinator, Mr. Raymond Dangana in his opening remarks reiterated GIZ’s commitment to address the needs of the ECOWAS Commission towards the strengthening of regional integration for the achievement of the ECOWAS Vision 2050: An ECOWAS of the Peoples: Peace and Prosperity for All. “It is for this reason that this four-day workshop has commenced. Our major objectives are to promote and facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogueincluding public PrivateDialogue on issues related to regional trade policies,and trade agreements. Furthermore, we hope to create platformsfor consultation betweencorridor stakeholders to establishconsensual governance mechanism and for effectivepolicy monitoring,” he stated. The AfCFTA is one of the flagship projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. It is an ambitious trade agreement, with a comprehensive scope that includescritical areas of Africa's economy,such as digital trade, investment protection, amongst other areas. If properly implemented, it is believed it could raise incomes by approximately 9% by 2035 and lift at least 50 millionpeople out of extreme poverty.The WTO – TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release, and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other relevant authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building. Awareness of the WTO-TFA and the AfCFTA is however still limited across all sectors in ECOWAS Member States. Improved knowledge can aid the effective and prompt implementation by the public sector, utilization by the private sector and monitoring and evaluation by civil society, academia, and themedia hence the significance of thisworkshop. This training was organized by the ECOWAS Commission with technical and financial support from the GIZ Trade Facilitation West African (TFWA) Programme and the GIZ – AU Programme Support to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). TFWA is a consortium co-funded by the European Union, The Government of the Netherlands, USAID and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). From its side, the GIZ – AU Programme Support to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), funded by BMZ, supports the African Union Commission, specifically its Department in charge of Trade and the AfCFTA Secretariat in Accra, Ghana in the areasof AfCFTA negotiations and implementation. More photos below:
GIZ’s Raymond Dangana delivering the opening remarks on behalf of GIZ
L-R: Dr Sheikh Dieye (trainer), Dr Sako Seydou(ECOWAS), Mr RaymondDangana, (GIZ)
Group photograph of participants insidethe hall