Similar to most West African countries, trade costs in Burkina Faso remain exorbitantly high. While tariffs have been reduced, administrative barriers such as unnecessary documentary requirements, cumbersome clearance procedures, and system/technical delays, among other barriers, continue to raise transaction costs and negatively impact trade flows.
Three of the TFWA Program’s six priority corridors run through Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso thus represents a pivotal part of the reform agenda required for the program to meet its objectives.
Small-scale cross-border traders (SSCBTs) are key economic actors in West Africa. Learn more about our work to understand existing constraints affecting SSCBTs especially women and design interventions to respond to identified constraints and ultimately make trade easier, cheaper, and safer.
NEWS & EVENTS
TFWA Program Supports ePhyto Implementation Plan Validation Workshop
On October 27, the TFWA Program supported a virtual workshop to validate Burkina Faso’s ePhyto implementation plan. This workshop forms part of the technical assistance granted to the Ministry of Agriculture under the TFWA Program, for which an expert in pest risk management has been recruited, with the technical support of the Société de Gestion de la Plateforme SYLVIE (SOGESY). The meeting was attended by representatives of SOGESY, DPVC, TFWA/WBG, and consultants.
During the session, facilitators presented key activities to be carried out in the plan:
- Establishing the governance structure: define the roles and responsibilities of the CPVP and SOGESY;
- Performing tests (test environment);
- Identifying users that will be part of the pilot project;
- Identifying products for the pilot project;
- Drafting the training materials and planning of workshops;
- Contributing to the development of a change management plan; and
- Drafting the roadmap for implementation.
The workshop greatly contributed to a broader understanding of ePhyto. At the same time, the virtual platform provided an opportunity for participants to engage in lively discussions and reaffirm their commitment to making the project a success while also reflecting on the challenges of ePhyto implementation.
Validation Workshop of SPS Technical Assistance Report
On November 8, the TFWA Program supported a workshop to validate the final report from SOFRECO’s technical assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) risk management. Held both online and in Ouagadougou, the hybrid session was attended by 25 (in-person) and 3 (virtual) participants from various public institutions and the private sector, including mango value chain operators (production, processing, and export) and freight forwarders. The workshop reviewed all activities conducted over the past two years, and presented completed deliverables, including:
- Complete list of priority pest risk profiles for imports;
- Updated list of quarantine pests;
- National Action Plan to strengthen the SPS risk management system;
- Capacity building program for the improvement of the existing SPS risk management system and curriculum;
- Functional specifications to serve as a basis for the establishment of a database for phytosanitary controls;
- Revised protocols for the SPS control of mango at export and the categorization of producers;
- Protocols for the SPS control of imported rice and the categorization of importers based on risk level; and
- Action Plan for the strengthening of the pest risk management system for the mango and rice value chains.
At the end of the workshop, participants expressed the need for additional support for the recommendations made and the implementation of the capacity building plan.
Burkina Faso Signs Decree to Establish the OCOD
On November 14, Burkina Faso signed the draft Protocol on Extra Legal Work between the Private Sector and Customs. This represents a key step toward the establishment of an Observatory for the Customs Clearance Operations Celerity (OCOD) in Burkina Faso. The draft was signed by Adama Nana (customs representative), Saïdou Diakité (first Vice President of CNPB) and Mahamadi Savadogo (Director General of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry) on behalf of the private sector.
The OCOD’s mission is to monitor the speed of customs clearance operations in order to contribute to the fluidity of traffic, particularly at borders, dry ports, and airports. It also aims to ensure compliance with the commitments made by customs and the private sector as part of the improvement of customs clearance operations. In this regard, the OCOD is set to handle complaints from users such as harassment, delivery delays, and customs blockages, as well as other challenges faced during customs clearance processes. In addition to the commitments made by both parties, the protocol also fixes a grid of fees to be paid for extra-legal work, collected once and lower than the average of those currently paid.
The process of establishing an OCOD in Burkina Faso kicked off in 2019. The team undertook several key pre-work activities, including a study tour in Côte d'Ivoire, which was conducted by a team of customs officers and freight forwarders from Burkina Faso. It also included the establishment of a steering committee in charge of planning the establishment of the OCOD in Burkina Faso. The committee led a broad consultative process of OCOD legal and regulatory texts across the country involving various stakeholders—customs management, staff and brokers, freight forwarders, import-export operators, transporters, and truck drivers, among others.
This consultative process ultimately resulted in the signature of the above protocol and consensus on the draft ministerial order to be signed by the minister of finance to officially establish the OCOD-BF.
TFWA Program Supports NTFC Roadmap Validation Workshop
The Burkinabe National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) roadmap was recently validated at an NTFC meeting in Ouagadougou. In total, more than 30 NTFC members attended the meeting, which was chaired by Mr. Seydou Ilboudo, Director General of Trade, who represented the NTFC President.
During the session, NTFC members reviewed, and ultimately approved, the draft roadmap. The roadmap was developed based on a NTFC self-assessment and is composed of 34 activities grouped into four strategic objectives. The strategy, which will be implemented over a three year period, includes trade and gender sub-committee activities among other things.
Participants recommended the mapping of key trade facilitation entities as well as the creation of thematic working groups or sub-committees. Additionally, participants validated and adopted the mandate of the NTFC’s Technical Secretariat. The document details the attributions and functions of the Technical Secretariat as the operational structure of the NTFC, taking into account the weaknesses identified under the NTFC self-assessment exercise.
The Trade Facilitation Roadmap represents a key step toward improving Burkina Faso’s trade landscape, which is one of the TFWA Program’s long-term goals for the country.
TFWA Program Supports the Comprehensive Review of SYLVIE Procedures
On September 9, with technical support from the TFWA Program, a validation workshop of the comprehensive review of SYLVIE procedures took place in Ouagadougou. The meeting was chaired by the Managing Director of SOGESY and the Director of Customs Information Systems, representing the Managing Director of Customs. In total, 38 members of the Burkinabe National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC), mainly composed of representatives of the private sector and institutions involved in the issuance of administrative acts for import and export operations, attended the workshop.
The review aimed to conduct a diagnosis of the regulatory and institutional framework of trade. It also strived to identify the main reforms to be implemented for the simplification and dematerialization of external trade procedures in order to reduce the costs and duration of import-export processes.
Over the course of the meeting, participants recommended several key next steps:
- Government support to upgrade the SYLVIE platform into a trade single window;
- Support for the official launch of the SYLVIE-SYDONIA interconnection;
- Strengthened capacity of stakeholders;
- Establishment of e-payment in SYLVIE;
Development of SYLVIE V2 (taking into consideration the recommendations for the creation of a single window)
Burkinabe Trade and Gender Sub-committee Meets to Promote Inclusive Trade
As part of efforts to improve the enabling trade environment for small-scale, cross-border traders (SSCBTs), including women, the TFWA Program supports National Trade Facilitation Committees (NTFCs). This support aims to systematically apply a gender lens in NTFC operations and effectively implement trade facilitation reforms that reduce transaction costs and promote inclusive economic growth for SSCBTs.
In September, the Burkinabe Trade and Gender sub-committee held its second meeting in Burkina Faso. The meeting was chaired by the Managing Director of Commerce and brought together representatives of the Ministry of Gender, the Association of Women Traders, the Gender Unit of the Ministry of Commerce, and the national police, among others.
The meeting gave participants an opportunity to discuss three key areas:
- The mission and role of the trade and gender sub-committee;
- The findings of the assessment of NTFC capacity needed to integrate a sensitive approach to gender issues in West African countries; and
- The adoption of a roadmap that outlines how the sub-committee will work.
Following this meeting, the TFWA Program will support the launch of training sessions and the development of terms of reference for the implementation of key activities.
SYLVIE - ASYCUDA Interconnection Launches in Burkina Faso
On October 21, after many months of preparation, the SYLVIE - ASYCUDA interconnection was officially launched at the National Customs Commission in Burkina Faso. The event attracted a number of key stakeholders, including: the Managing Director of Customs; the Managing Director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the President of the National Trade Facilitation Committee; representative from IFC; Customs officers; freight forwarders; and importers representing the private sector.
Standing in for the Minister of Economy, Finance and Development, the event was chaired by the Secretary General of the Ministry, who expressed appreciation to the TFWA Program and its donors. The Secretary General highlighted the government’s continued support of the program and its interventions, which aim to improve existing trade facilitation measures in Burkina Faso.
Delivering the opening remarks, the Managing Director of Customs and the Managing Director of the Chamber of Commerce both acknowledged the launch of the interconnection as a major step toward simplifying import-export procedures for the private sector. In his remarks, the IFC Country Manager commended the TFWA Program’s commitment and support in the establishment of an effective single window and encouraged other key actors to continue implementing trade facilitation reforms.
During the event, the Director of Information and Statistics highlighted data showing that the new interconnection provides many benefits, some of which include:
- Simplification of import-export/trade procedures;
- Less time and cost of operations – users no longer need to upload information to both SYLVIE and ASYCUDA platforms; and
- Reduced risks and fraud
Following the launch, a consultant will be selected to lead the technical design of the SYLVIE upgrade and implement a series of awareness-raising workshops on the SYLVIE – ASYCUDA interconnection for users and other key actors.
Stakeholders in West and Central East Burkina Faso Sensitized on the OCOD to Simplify Customs Operations
On October 26, three workshops were held in Bobo-Dioulasso, Cinkanse, and Ouagadougou to sensitize stakeholders on the establishment of the observatory for the celerity of customs clearance operations (OCOD).Attendees from the three cities include freight forwarders, customs officers, traders and transporters.
The OCOD aims to monitor the speed of customs clearance operations with a view to contribute to the fluidity of traffic—particularly at borders, dry ports, and airports— and to ensure compliance with the commitments made by Customs and the private sector as part of the simplification and improvement of customs clearance operations. Additionally, the OCOD is set to function as a ‘watchdog’, applying effective monitoring mechanisms to address the challenges users face in customs clearance processes. These challenges include harassment and the cumbersome, delayed clearance of goods. The OCOD should thereby significantly reduce time and costs in clearance procedures.
In the coming weeks, the lead technical committee for the OCOD-BF is set to meet with key representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chamber of Mines and submit the draft decree of the establishment of the OCOD-BF to the Minister of Economy, Finance and Development.
TFWA Program Trains Burkinabe NTFC in Inclusive Project Management
On October 27 and 28, the TFWA Program conducted a workshop on Inclusive Project Management for the Burkinabe National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) and its gendersub-committee members. The two-day session took place in Ouagadougou and was facilitated by the TFWA Program’s Burkina Faso team. In total, 36 participants—including representatives of the Ministry of Gender and the Permanent Secretariat of the National Council for Gender Promotion (SP-CONAP genre)—attended the training.
The TFWA Program Maturity Model identified the Inclusive Project Management workshop as a priority through an NTFC self-assessment. The TFWA Maturity Model offers an easy-to-use self-assessment tool, which then feeds into the development of fit-for-purpose and results-based NTFC action plans. Based on the results of the self-assessment, the TFWA Program training aimed to begin building the capacities required for the Burkinabe NTFC to efficiently fulfill its mandate.
During the session, participants were put into groups to work on practical exercises based on four modules:
- Introduction to project management in the context of trade facilitation;
- Key principles of inclusion and the trade and gender nexus;
- Key principles of inclusive project management as success factors for trade facilitation; and
- Identification, analysis, and engagement of stakeholders in the project cycle.
In his closing remarks, the Director General of Commerce, representing the NTFC Chairman, thanked the TFWA Program for its excellent support. He also congratulated the NTFC members for their active participation, encouraging them to apply the lessons learned to their trade facilitation activities. Following the session, participants were awarded training certificates to acknowledge their work and to encourage ongoing commitment.
Burkinabe NTFC Holds First Workshop of the Trade Facilitation and Gender Sub-committee
In March 2021, the first workshop of Burkina Faso’s Trade and Gender Sub-committee was held at the Maison de l’Entreprise in Ouagadougou. The sub-committee’s establishment was supported by the TFWA Program and is based on the National Trade Facilitation Committee’s founding decree. In total, 29 people from various institutions—including representatives from associations of women traders—attended the workshop. The meeting aimed to explain the expectations of the sub- committee, plan the sub-committee’s priority activities for 2021, inform participants about the support provided by the TFWA Program toward the implementation of the Burkinabe trade facilitation roadmap, and identify potential partners for the implementation of gender activities.
During the meeting, the TFWA Program highlighted and discussed the sub-committee’s core objectives:
- Ensuring the NTFC integrates the gender dimension into its programs and decisions;
- Collecting and disseminating disaggregated gender data;
- Communicating about trade and gender issues;
- Seeking funding for sub-committee activities;
- Compiling and reporting bad practices and non-tariff barriers sensitive to cross-border women traders; and
- Increasing sub-committee member capacities.
Over the course of the workshop, participants recommended several key next steps:
- Mainstreaming gender into all trade facilitation activities;
- Supporting and ensuring sustainability of information offices;
- Supporting the TFWA Program to develop an operational action plan aligned with its roadmap;
- Holding capacity-building activities (including for monitoring and evaluation);
- Strengthening sub-committee member capacities in gender and monitoring/evaluation; and
- Supporting resource mobilization for the implementation of the roadmap.
- Representatives from the Ministry of Women and from the women trader associations were very happy with the establishment and effective start of the sub-committee. The TFWA Program will continue to support the sub-committee and encourage the realization of the goals outlined in this first meeting.
Gender mainstreaming efforts take center stage in the Burkinabe NTFC
In early November, the trade and gender sub-committee of Burkina Faso’s NTFC held a workshop to advance its goals toward gender maintstreaming. Among other the deliverables, the sub-committee worked on a draft decree, which is expected to be signed by both the Gender Minister and the Trade Minister over the coming weeks. Once signed, this decree would formalize the sub-committee, a major success for greater inclusiveness in Burkina Faso’s trade space.
Based on terms of references and best practices shared by the TFWA Program team, the group also worked on a draft roadmap that outlines how the sub-committee will work. Importantly, the sub-committee will include two representatives of women's associations. There are also plans to revise the NTFC decree to include the key gender actors, however, as the revision is process lengthy, this is only expected to be completed next year, after a new government is sworn in.
The biggest takeaway from the meeting is that the NTFC now sees how the maturity model can help them improve efficiency. As a result, the NTFC plans to immediately put together a team to work with the TFWA Program on conducting a self-assessment.
Burkina Faso continues harmonizing national customs code to international and regional conventions
In November, with support from the TFWA Program, the Customs Commission in Burkina Faso organized a workshop in Bobo Dioulasso aimed at revising the national customs code. Once completed, the revised Customs Code will incorporate the fundamental principles of the ECOWAS Customs Code, the Kyoto Convention, and the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, while adopting supplementary national customs provisions as required by the ECOWAS Customs Code. All these efforts are aligned with the ECOWAS Customs’ Union program focused on facilitating the harmonization of domestic and indirect taxes across the economic zone.
Thanks to continued and productive engagements with the Customs Commission in Burkina Faso, this workshop is the sixth out of eight workshops planned and is the second of four workshops to be supported by the TFWA Program, falling under the program’s first component. The TFWA Program will also support two validation workshops once the revisions are completed, with a follow-up workshop scheduled to take place soon.
TFWA National Program launches in Burkina Faso
In October, a national program launch of the TFWA Program was held in Ouagadougou in collaboration with the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) and the Burkinabe Chamber of Commerce. The launch, which was attended by the Minister of Trade for Burkina Faso, Honorable Harouna Kaboré, the Director of Trade for UEMOA, Rose Tiemoko Kabran, Acting Country Representative of USAID in Burkina Faso, Kathy Younker, Chargé d'Affaires at the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Burkina Faso, Maarten Rusch, and joined virtually by Maiko Miyake from the World Bank.
Honourable Kaboré expressed the government’s strong commitment to support the implementation of the Trade Facilitation West Africa Program. In her speech, Madam Kabran mentioned that the program—which aims to reduce the time and cost of trade borne by the private sector, especially by improving the movement of goods along selected corridors, and by supporting small-scale traders—is in line with UEMOA’s vision and hence has the organization’s full support. The representatives of USAID and the Netherlands both expressed their strong support for TFWA Program activities and hoped that the program would spur economic growth in the region, helping improve the well-being of West Africans through effective facilitation of trade. They also reiterated their support for TFWA activities, which include a number of initiatives targeting the three priority trade corridors in Burkina Faso. Maiko Miyake, representing the World Bank Group and International Finance Corporation, affirmed the institutions’ resolve to collaborate with the NTFC on all program activities. While acknowledging the NTFC for including the gender ministry in all TFWA-related meetings, she also called on the committee to work on revising the NTFC decree to formally include the gender ministry and other key gender related institutions in the NTFC.
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.
Customs and SITARAIL collaboration supports rail customs computerization
On September 15th, a technical meeting was held with Ivoirian and Burkinabe Customs, SITARAIL, ECOWAS, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the World Bank. The meeting aimed to present UNCTAD, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’ Ivoire with Customs and SITARAIL’s collaboration for the computerization of the rail customs process. Additionally, the meeting focused on the exchange of IT data. SITARAIL has carried out the computer developments necessary to integrate the management of data exchange with the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) into its system. SITARAIL was also able to present ASYCUDA’s different windows for the processing of rail-specific data.
UNCTAD asked Customs from two countries to provide a test environment to integrate the IT data exchange solution and to verify the correct functionality of this new development and of the data exchanges with SITARAIL. The integration of this new module can then be completed in each country, testing and validating the system before the pilot phase is launched (scheduled before yearend).
Another meeting was held on September 24th with Customs of Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire, the WCO, and the World Bank to finalize and validate two legal texts: "Joint Circular" and the "Framework Instruction on the Extension of the Interconnected System for the Management of Goods in Transit (SIGMAT) to International Rail Transit Between the Customs Administrations of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso," which will legally allow the two countries to exchange customs data. These texts will be signed by Customs Directors General at the pilot project’s launch ceremony, which should be organized by the end of the year.
Rail Customs Interconnection Meeting Advances TFWA Program Objectives
From January 13 to 17, the TFWA Program hosted a rail customs interconnection meeting in Abidjan. Following a previous rail customs interconnection meeting in October 2019, the workshop focused on the monitoring, evaluation, and extension of the SIGMAT solution to railway transportation between Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.
In total, 35 participants attended the meeting, including representatives from Burkinabe and Ivorian customs offices, the SITARAIL railway system, the World Customs Organization, UNCTAD, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and Communauté Portuaire d’Abidjan. The meeting aimed to establish SIGMAT rail implementation planning procedures while creating road interconnection appraisals—to solve issues faced by both administrations related to the current interconnection process. The group also prioritized reaching agreement on rail technical specifications. Further, attendees strived to finalize the joint circular, which provides framework instructions for the application of SIGMAT to international rail transit between Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire.
During the meeting, the group finalized the joint circular, which introduces the rail concept on interconnection. Importantly, the meeting allowed technical specifications for rail processes to be discussed and agreed. Because the SIGMAT solution for rail implementation planning has been agreed, as a next step, a pilot launch will be scheduled.
SIGMAT Implementation Meeting Advances Data Exchange in Burkina Faso
and Côte d'Ivoire
From January 6 to 10, the TFWA Program hosted a customs interconnection technical meeting with stakeholders focused on the Abidjan-Ouagadougou corridor, one of the program’s six priority trade routes. Following last October’s rail customs interconnection meeting in Ouagadougou, the Bollore Group’s railway company, SITARAIL, funded and organized this technical meeting. Held at SITARAIL’s training office in Abidjan, this gathering aimed to define a data exchange architecture between the SITARAIL railway system and the SIGMAT system used by the customs administrations of Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire.
Twenty stakeholders participated in the meeting, including the SITARAIL IT department, freight forwarders, a team of two Burkina Faso customs IT officers, and the Ivorian IT team. Following this meeting, stakeholders improved their understanding of the rail procedures. Additionally, participants learned the technical specifications that will allow them to develop interfaces with SITARAIL, SIGMAT, and the two customs authorities.
Regional customs administrations play an important role in trade facilitation, creating the foundational structures needed to advance the TFWA Program. This meeting laid the groundwork for the program to continue to advance its mission and objectives in the region.
TFWA Program Connects Ministries to Mainstream Gender in Burkina Faso
On November 28, the TFWA Program convened the first-ever meeting between the Gender Ministry and Trade Ministry in Burkina Faso. The meeting focused on mainstreaming gender within National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) activities, which are led by the Trade Ministry. The Gender Ministry is not part of the NTFC and there have not been any efforts to prioritize gender in NTFC activities in Burkina Faso.
Thanks to the TFWA Program meeting, it was realized that the Ministry of Trade was independently developing a gender strategy, without input from the Gender Ministry. At the same time, the Gender Ministry had completed an evaluation of the National Gender Policy and was developing its own gender strategy. By connecting these dots and promoting cross-ministry discussion, the TFWA Program built bridges between these key national stakeholders.
Following the meeting, both ministries committed to creating a small-scale cross-border trade and gender sub-committee within the NTFC. This committee will develop a roadmap for mainstreaming gender in NTFC activities. The Ministry of Trade also committed to revising the NTFC decree to include the Gender Ministry and other gender stakeholders. Both ministries also promised to involve each other in the development of their respective strategies moving forward.
In January 2020, the gender ministry officially nominated three representatives to the NTFC for TFWA Program-related discussions. The process of revising the NTFC decree to include the Gender Ministry is still being actively pursued by both ministries and—following the initial meeting facilitated by the TFWA Program—the small-scale cross-border trade and gender subcommittee has already met twice.