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 Helps Operationalize the NTFC in Cabo Verde
From February 26 to 28, the TFWA Program hosted a capacity building workshop in Cabo Verde, bringing together representatives from relevant government institutions, the World Bank, GIZ, and the ECOWAS Commission. The goal of the meeting was to foster National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) operationalization while accelerating the development of Cabo Verde’s trade facilitation agenda, building on momentum created with the ratification of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on February 6th, 2020.
The workshop used interactive working sessions to enhance NTFC capacities for the effective implementation and ownership of TFA and trade facilitation reforms. Importantly, these sessions established how TFA needs should be addressed, developing a platform for dialogue between the government of Cabo Verde and the TFWA Program. Designed to strengthen donor coordination mechanisms, this platform—which was kicked off at the workshop—will form an important part of the relationship between government and the TFWA Program moving forward. Overall, the group work and discussion improved stakeholders’ understanding of TFA implementation and the challenges linked to TFA technical measures and notifications.
Following the workshop, recommendations were adopted to provide a structured approach toward NTFC compliance with TFA-related obligations and priorities. Additionally, recommendations were identified to prepare the sequencing and consolidation of activities required to draft a national strategy for trade facilitation in Cabo Verde. A specific focus on process mapping and wide adoption of risk management were both defined as key enablers to TFA alignment.
As a next step, with a view toward building the NTFC’s capacity to rapidly assume its role and responsibilities, the TFWA Program will fund and support the customized roll-out of the UNCTAD NTFC Empowerment Program for Cabo Verde.