NEWS & EVENTS
National Approval Committee members in Cabo Verde, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, and Togo strengthen their skills on ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme approval procedures
The TFWA Program supported the ECOWAS Commission Directorate of Customs Union and Taxation (DCUT) to organize a virtual training on ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) approval procedures. The workshops targeted National Approval Committee (NAC) members in in Cabo Verde (5th to 9th October) Guinea (12th to 14th October), Burkina Faso (15th, 16th and 19th October), Benin, Niger, and Togo (9th to 13th November). In total, 102 people completed the workshops, including participants from the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Regional Integration, Ministry of Finance, Customs Directorate, the Chamber of Commerce and National Export Promotion Body.
One objective of these nine workshops was to strengthen the functioning of the NACs by training their members on the ETLS mechanism. At the same time, the workshops aimed to provide ECOWAS Member States with a good number of trained ETLS resource people to facilitate activities, raise awareness, and train the national business community on ETLS, with a particular emphasis on highlighting the advantages of the scheme and the criteria for approval of companies and products.
The workshops allowed NAC members to master the ETLS mechanism, ensuring that a good number of ETLS resource persons are available in each trained ECOWAS Member State. Through these workshops, the approval process will be facilitated at the national level and the timeline for approval will be drastically reduced. Trainees will lead national awareness, information, and capacity building activities on the ETLS mechanism in order to strengthen regional integration in the ECOWAS region. As a result, the TFWA Program hopes to see a significant increase in the number of submissions of applications for approval to the scheme from these countries. Following the workshops, trainee-led national activities will also strengthen regional ETLS integration in the ECOWAS region.
TFWA Program Advance Trade and Gender Dialogue in Benin
On March 6, the TFWA Program facilitated the first bilateral meeting between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Microfinance in Benin. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Microfinance is in charge of gender promotion and integration, and by bringing these ministries together and creating a platform for dialogue, the TFWA Program helped advance its goals around trade and gender in Benin.
As a result of the meeting, which was attended by more than 15 key officials, the ministries decided to form a trade and gender working group—agreeing to come together to outline terms and a work plan for the group. Participants also agreed to integrate gender into the workings of national trade facilitation, and look into how the decree under review may make the Ministry of Social Affairs and Microfinance a permanent member of the National Trade Facilitation Committee in Benin.
The bilateral meeting was preceded by two separate individual meetings with the Minister of Industry and Trade and the Minister of Social Affairs and Microfinance, respectively. The two ministers agreed to jointly champion the launch of two reports: a regional gender assessment and a survey on small-scale cross-border trade and gender. These reports highlight the need for gender to be mainstreamed in trade-related activities, encouraging both ministries to make it a priority moving forward.