The World Bank Group, in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMA) has begun implementing two projects with the objective of fostering trade and investment in the West Africa region. The two projects, which launching took place Wednesday at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, aim to support West African countries and regional organizations in fostering private sector competitiveness and facilitating trade and investment as a basis for sustainable regional development.
According to a document issued at the launch, as part of a comprehensive regional technical assistance programme, the European Union is funding some aspects of the projects which include The Improved Business and Investment Climate in West Africa Project and The Improved and Facilitated Trade in West Africa Project.
These two aspects aim to address a range of investment policy and business taxation issues that constitute barriers for the private sector to invest efficiently across the region.
They also aim to facilitate the movement of goods along selected trade corridors and gateway ports.
However, the main objectives of the two projects, according to the document, are to help West African countries implement reforms aimed at encouraging greater competitiveness and creating a more integrated regional investment market.
The World Bank Group will provide policy advice that takes into consideration domestic reform agendas and leverages the regional umbrella to foster coherence throughout the West African community.
The main areas of focus for the two projects include connecting landlocked countries to seaports, enhancing the efficiency of ports along the coast to promote intra-regional and international trade and improve the international trading environment through effective implementation of regional and international trade-related conventions.