The planning retreat held from the 16-18 September 2021 was in collaboration with Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS); West Africa Association for Cross Trade , in Afro-Forestry-Pastoral and Fisheries Products and Food (WACTAF) and Africa Union Development Agency – New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA NEPAD)
The overall objective of the planning retreat is to build, among partners, a greater understanding of their collaboration; consider how best to pull and allocate resources; formulate a well-integrated work plan; and develop a sustainable program of an interplay between ECO-ICBT and TLS in the informal cross border trade data collection space.
The planning retreat provided the requisite platform for considering the program content; road map and budget. It considered an amalgamation of indicators that will both serve the ECO-ICBT data collection goals and indicators necessary for measuring the efficiency of our borders in the region as per the objective of the TLS.
In her remarks, Ms. Kisa Nkhoma reiterated AUDA NEPAD’S objective and commitment to the development of trade and efficiency of borders. She expressed optimism of a win-win relation between the ECO-ICBT and MoveAfrica/TLS program through the collaboration. Ms Nkhoma added that the success of the collaboration with ECOWAS has been instrumental in developing Category 5 of the TLS which will assess Informal Cross-Border Trade Processes at border posts. She concluded by saying this collaboration will Small scale cross border operators in region which will help realize the benefits of the AfCFTA.
Making his remarks on behalf of Mr. Tei KONZI, ECOWAS Commissioner of Trade, Customs and Free Movement, Dr. Seydu SACKO, Program Officer – Informal Trade and Competition, highlighted the expected outputs of the planning retreat to stressing the need to have an adopted collaborative program with roadmap. He encouraged participants to work assiduously to ensure that is accomplished.
The workshop adopted an initial 3-year program and roadmap running from 2022-2024. Main activities on the road map include capacity building of over 150 enumerators and expansion of data collection activities to about 115 identified corridors across the region including Chad and Mauritania
The workshop was attended by Experts from the ECOWAS Commission’s Trade Directorate and representatives from AUDA-NEPAD; CILSS; WACTAF; WAEMU Commission and an expert from the National Statistical Bureau of Ghana. Program Officer – Informal Trade and Competition, Dr. Seydou SACKO welcomed participants on behalf of Mr. Tei KONZI, ECOWAS Commissioner of Trade, Customs and Free Movement.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission in collaboration with African Union Development Agency- AUDA-NEPAD commences the training of border officials as part of the operationalization process under the Nigeria-Cameroon Multinational Highway and Transport Facilitation Programme.
The training forms part of the capacity building programme under the MoveAfrica Traffic Light System – TLS. As the continent is geared towards trading under the AfCFTA, efficient borders are critical to the success of the AfCFTA. To that effect the TLS has been positioned as a tool that is necessary for RECs and member states to use to track the status of borders in-terms of efficiency when it comes to processing cross-border trade.
The training which was held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja Nigeria from 10th -12th August 2021, also featured the establishment of the Ekok/Mfum Joint Management Committee (JMC) for the border post which will be co-chaired by the ministries in charge of transports of the two partner States.
In attendance at the meeting were Stakeholders from Cameroon, Nigeria, ECOWAS, AFREXIMBANK, UNECA, AUDA-NEPAD, Zimborders and ECCAS.
Representing the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Infrastructure, Pathe Gueye, at the meeting, Mr. Ashoke Maliki, PPO, Roads & Railways and Project Manager of the Programme from the Department of Infrastructure highlighted the objectives of the Joint Border Post concept which is basically to strengthen the coordination and streamline procedural processes at the JBP with a view to enhance better sharing of data, revenue generation, and facilitate trade across borders.
He further emphasized that the successes of the Ekok/Mfum Joint Border Post relies heavily on the implementation of the Bilateral Agreement that clearly define their duties and what are expected of the Border Officials on the JBP. He therefore called on the JMC to study the Bilateral Agreement for better understanding of their roles and responsibilities. He concluded by urging the JMC to also study and sensitized transporters on the signed Axle Load Control Agreement between Nigerian and Cameroonian for better movement of goods across the border.
In their remarks, the representative from AUDA-NEPAD emphasized on the mandate of AUDA to promote regional projects and to work with RECs and member states in doing so, and secondly to mobilise a full range of resources to promote regional projects. Therefore the work of the Agency through its MoveAfrica programme is to develop tools to support RECs and member states as efforts are being made to expedite efficiencies along border posts. The engagement of MoveAfrica with the RECs is a clear demonstration on how AUDA-NEPAD is also engaging with the RECs in dealing with strategic and critical issues pertaining to regional integration. At the same time the Agency is equipping the RECs with the necessary tools in the long run.
Training of the border officials was drawn from the experiences from East African as well as from the Zimborders.
The training ended with the emphases on continuous training of border officials to ensure better understanding of JBP concept. The Ekok/Mfum Joint Border Post between Nigeria and Cameroon is expected to be fully operationalization in December, 2021, with the handover of the facility to both governments in a groundbreaking ceremony. AUDA-NEPAD through MoveAfrica is expected to continue to mobilise resources to ensure that the border from the onset acts as a benchmark in-terms of how Joint Border Posts also known as One Stop Border Posts ought to operate and in this case being a border that adjoins two regions ECOWAS and ECCAS respectively.
Progress towards linking Africa’s regional energy infrastructure under the Continental Master Plan (CMP), the ‘blueprint’ of the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM), was presented by the technical team from the European Union’s Technical Assistance Facility (EU TAF) and African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) in a high-level hybrid meeting held in Johannesburg (South Africa), on 9 September 2021. The meeting focused on the validation of the CMP inception report, which consolidates the common action plan for CMP in terms of scope, methodology, governance structure and implementing mechanisms.
Physical interconnection of Africa’s continental energy infrastructure is planned within the context of the ongoing effort to set up the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) – one of the largest electricity markets in the world, covering the African Union’s 55 Member States, and a population of more than 1.3 billion.
In its first months of execution, the CMP project already achieved important milestones: agreement on the suitable technical solutions in collaboration with the African Power Pools (review of the Energy Information Systems (EIS) and GIS, the power system simulation software), numerous participatory consultation meetings, and the selection of the partners for the technical trainings – International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – who had rolled out the first training earlier this year. The Validation meeting was notably attended by AUDA-NEPAD, AUC, AfDB, , RECs, Regional Regulators, Centres for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency y(CREEEs), African Power Pools, IRENA, IAEA, EU TAF, and the European Commission (including Delegations)
Participating partners pledged their commitment towards the next steps of the CMP, which includes over 25 training sessions for a core team of African energy modellers from key institutions such as AUDA, African Power Pools (WAPP, EAPP, CAPP, SAPP, COMELEC), and the African Development Bank (AfDB), that will champion the future of Africa’s electricity infrastructure.
With the support of the European Union’s dedicated Technical Assistance Facility for Sustainable Energy (EU TAF), the African Union has been coordinating the Harmonisation of African Electricity Markets since 2015, culminating in the launch of the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) in June 2021. Strategic objectives are to improve access to reliable and sustainable energy, to promote industrialisation, economic development, and job creation.
The establishment of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) is part of the global reforms geared at improving the Union’s impact and operational efficiency. The mandate of AUDA-NEPAD is to coordinate and execute priority regional and continental projects to promote regional integration towards the accelerated realisation of Agenda 2063, and to strengthen capacity of African Union Member States and regional bodies by providing knowledge-based advisory support, resource mobilisation and technical interface with all Africa’s development stakeholders. The PIDA Quality Label (PQL) is a quality recognition by the AUDA-NEPAD Service Delivery Mechanism (SDM). It is awarded to projects that excel in the preparation of PIDA projects at an early stage.
“The AUDA-NEPAD’s PIDA Quality Label (PQL) reflects projects’ adherence to international best practices in infrastructure development and provides African Governments with a framework to achieve excellence throughout the projects’ definition and preparation phases. Building synergies between the PIDA Quality Label and SOURCE is an excellent opportunity to support project preparation and enhance infrastructure delivery in Africa.” Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO, AUDA-NEPAD.
SOURCE is the multilateral platform for sustainable infrastructure led and funded by the MDBs and implemented by the Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation (SIF). SOURCE is a global and scalable IT platform, hosted by the United Nations, acting as a unique delivery system for the world’s best practices in infrastructure project preparation. Its structured data-based approach is designed to strengthen accountability, transparency and help informed decision-making against local, regional and global standards. As part of the MoU, AUDA-NEPAD will collaborate with SIF to link the Virtual PIDA Information Centre (VPIC) with SOURCE as well as to include instruments such as the SDM and PQL into the SOURCE project assessment module.
“AUDA-NEPAD’s unique network and expertise combined with the multilateral platform SOURCE’s unique features will give governments control over the creation of their pipelines of sustainable and well-prepared projects.” Christophe Dossarps, SIF, CEO.
ECOWAS Commission, through the Trade Directorate, has collaborated with CILSS and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) to conduct a kick-off capacity building workshop within the framework of the Informal Trade Regulatory Support Program (ITRSP). The first, among a series of capacity building workshops was held in Accra – Ghana, from the 28-30 July 2021.
The overall objective of the workshop, including the subsequent ones, was to build the capacity of enumerators, supervisors, webmasters, and relevant stakeholders involved in the effort at collecting and uploading informal cross border trade data on the region.
Despite the efforts of ECOWAS in consolidating the achievements of the integration process and its acceleration in order to benefit from the gains linked to trade and to take advantage of local cohabitation, official data reveal that the member countries of the ECOWAS trade less (12% – 13%) at the regional level than with the rest of the world.
Several studies have shown that the level of intra-regional trade covers only formal trade. Thus, informal trade escapes registration in the computer systems of customs administrations, which constitutes an important part of information on national economies. According to these studies, its contribution varies from 20% to 40% depending on the country.
The growing importance of informal trade in the economic and social life of ECOWAS States has prompted the ECOWAS Commission to formulate the Regional Informal Trade Regulation Support Program (ITRSP / PARCI).
As part of the capacity building, participants were taken through (i) verification of the effectiveness of the correct reporting of data from the CILSS database to the database of the site www.eco-icbt.org, (ii) finalization of the various tests of parameterization of the methodology, (iii) testing the operationalization of the ECO-ICBT tool for data extraction in NSO mode, and (iv) carrying out comparison and validation tests of the data reported in order to establish a synoptic templates/tables from 2015 to 2019 of the actual volumes and values of informal cross-border trade by Member State and for the Region. In addition, discussions were held on how to integrate the ECO-ICBT and the AUDA-NEPAD Traffic Light System in an effort to make border posts more efficient for the ICBT sector.
As part of the outcomes, the workshop agreed on set of criteria for selecting enumerators, supervisors, and webmasters to participate in subsequent capacity buildings. This would ensure effective utilization of resources and also to ensure that the right caliber of people are trained.
The workshop also recommended a careful planning and design of a collaborative program between ECOWAS Commission represented by the Trade Directorate and AUDA NEPAD’s MoveAfrica/Traffic Light System (TLS) to ensure a sustainability, effective resource mobilization and enhanced collaboration.
In all, about 5 capacity building sessions are envisaged between 2021 and 2022 with over 150 enumerators, supervisors, webmasters, and relevant stakeholders across the region expected to be trained
The workshop was attended by representatives from the ECOWAS Commission; CILSS; WAEMU; WACTAF; AUDA-NEPAD ;National Statistics Bureau of Ghana, resources persons, enumerators, supervisors, and webmasters.
The next capacity building is scheduled to hold in September 2021.