The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union (EU), the West Africa Monetary Union (WAEMU) and representatives of West African countries held the first Strategic Steering committee of the West Africa Competitiveness programme on 8th and 9th October 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The programme, with an overall budget of 120 million EURO, will focus on improving the business environment, the regional quality infrastructure, and in particular, the development of national and regional value chains to boost the economic integration and competitiveness of the region.
Building on earlier work and assisted by a number of implementing partners, the Programme will be rolled out in West Africa through concrete actions in individual countries and at the regional level.
In his remarks during the meeting, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion, who is also the Chair of the Steering Committee, Mamadou Traore, stated that the implementation of the programme would cover all 15 ECOWAS Member States, as well as Mauritania.
The Commissioner noted the fact that low productivity due to supply side constraints is a major challenge facing countries in West Africa and the African continent as a whole. He highlighted a number of regional initiatives being driven by the ECOWAS Commission towards boosting investment, production and trade including the ECOWAS Common Investment Code, the West Africa Common Industrial Policy, the West Africa Quality Programme, the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme, and the ECOWAS Customs Code.
He explained that, the West Africa Competitiveness Programme has the potential to increase the capacity of our enterprises and transform or add substantial value and quality to our offers and products which in turn generate employment and wealth.
The objective of the programme is to strengthen the competitiveness of West Africa and enhance the countries’ integration into the regional and international trading system.