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.
Training of Trainers Seminar on One Stop Border Post (OSBP) Design and Operations was co-hosted by the AUDA-NEPAD, EAC, and JICA as a virtual event on 28-29 July 2021. This event brought together over 110 participants including representatives from RECs, Member States, government agencies, companies, think tanks, and partner organisations to share learnings on OSBP design and operational elements in alignment with the AfCFTA and COVID-19. This seminar was held as a follow-up to the “Training of Trainers and Data Collection Seminar for RECs” held in July 2019 in Kigali. During that seminar, the EAC Secretariat requested to host another seminar to enable participants to have a first-hand look and feel of the architectural design and construction aspects of OSBPs.
Based on the request and considering the challenges posed by COVID-19, the virtual seminar consisted of three main sessions concerning key issues, including: architectural design and construction of OSBPs, criteria and consideration of the OSBP facilities, border operations to respond to increased trade volumes arising from the AfCFTA, health protocols to be mainstreamed within border functions, border waste management, enhancement of boarder security, and standardisation of tracking systems.
Mr. Amine Idriss Adoum, Director of Programme Delivery and Coordination, AUDA NEPAD opened the seminar highlighting that development and provision of efficient hard and soft infrastructure provides a crucial platform for Africa to enhance economic productivity, facilitate trade, and accelerate industrialization and develop markets at the national, regional, continental, and international levels. In his remarks, Mr. Idriss Adoum informed delegates that AUDA-NEPAD and JICA are currently preparing on the review of the 3rd edition of the OSBP source book. Technical consultation meetings will, soon, be conducted targeted on Member States and RECs. He then went on to officially open the seminar and wished the delegates fruitful deliberations.
Mr. Minoru Homma, Chief Representative, JICA South Africa Office highlighted JICA’s collective efforts in Corridor Development and OSBP development in Africa, while emphasizing the importance of this seminar, which incorporates elements of COVID-19 and AfCFTA. In his remarks, Mr. Homma voiced JICA’s continuous support for the efforts by AUDA-NEPAD, RECs, and each country, with an emphasis on African ownership and sustainability, while referring to TICAD-8, which will be hosted by the Republic of Tunisia in 2022, as the second host country in Africa in its history.
Mr. Hosea Nyangweso, Principal Civil Engineer, on behalf of Director of Infrastructure Directorate, EAC Secretariat presented the importance of OSBP as a game changer in corridor performance by substantially reducing the passenger and cargo dwell time at the crossing points. In his remarks, Mr. Nyangweso provided an overview of 15 OSBPs in EAC region, referring the challenges including shortage of staff housing, which is vital for the achievement of 24/7 operations, and insufficient human resources of the border agencies. At the end of his remarks, he reiterated the significance of the TOT seminar more than 10 years after the opening of first functioning OSBP in Africa.
Session 1: Architectural Design and Construction of the OSBP
In answering the question as to what criteria and consideration in architectural design of the OSBP can be addressed in enhancing border efficiency and streamlining procedures, the presentation done by Peter Magambo, Tutu Kagga and John Matovu from EAC Secretariat, highlighted the following key issues in: architectural design criteria, examples of guiding legislation / manuals, OSBP facilities and their functionalities, COVID-19 impact on the flow of process relating private cars and public transport, and impact on the layout of the OSBP.
This session discussed the OSBP facility and its functionality to extend beyond the realisation of functional OSBP to also take into account the contribution of smooth administrative flow to health, immigration, and custom procedures. There is a growing demand for OSBP to address the social and economic impacts linked to its border operations. However, design of the OSBP with trade facilitation and infectious disease countermeasures in mind remain a challenge; this requires building green OSBP that takes account of climate change and ensures access to sustainable utilities. There is an additional need to enhance border security while setting up screening mechanism in the context where threat of international terrorism is growing. While criteria and priority on OSBP layout are subject to vary at different contexts, designers need to continuously dialogue and engage with stakeholders to consider re-assessment of the layout before actual design is carried out.
Session 2: The role of OSBP- What can OSBP do in light of AfCFTA and COVID-19
Ms. Trudi Hatzenberg, Executive Director, Trade Law Centre (TRALAC) presented the importance of adoption of digital trade solutions move towards the improving border governance driven by ICT technology, including E-Payments and E-documentations with the launch of AfCFTA. In her presentation, Ms. Hartzenberg emphasised the significance of TOT seminar as an opportunity to share key developments and updates to support trade facilitation in the AfCFTA.
Mr. Amos Phiri, Consultant and Advisor on Transport presented an overview of additional design considerations in terms of:
- specific OSBP legal and regulatory framework, procedures and operational manuals and implementation framework
- staff housing and detached health ports
- efficient circulation of traffic and flexibility of layouts and designs for future expansion
- dedicated funding mechanisms for maintenance
Ms. Yuriko Doi, Deputy Director, JICA presented on new challenges found in Border Posts. In her presentation, she outlined the survey that was conducted in 44 border posts in EAC Member States. The following items were highlighted:
- objective of the survey – identifying needs and challenges for strengthening infectious disease response at the BPs and surrounding areas
- finding one – need for standardization
- finding two – gap in facilities
- finding three – gap in human resources
- finding four – waste management
Mr. Arnold Nkoma from EAC Secretariat highlighted the following key issues:
- how health protocols could be mainstreamed in the OSBP procedures
- provisions that could be put at OSBP facilities – sanitary facilities, temperature monitoring equipment and personal protective equipment.
The panel looked at the importance of operational and procedural elements needed to foster health protocols, and to respond to increased cross-border trade volumes arising from the AfCFTA. Operations and procedures of the border posts are increasingly shifted to modernisation that driven by the ICT technology, including adoptions of digital trade solutions – e-payments, e-documentation. Focusing on standardisation of provision of the OSBP and making model procedures, while reflecting on how to better enforce health and security interventions at borders, will enable better and secured streamlining of procedures. Integrating health screening into the detached health port as a first clearance is needed to minimise the exposure of OSBP staff. It is also critical for border posts to address waste management and maintenance of border facility; this requires dedicated funding mechanism to ensure sustainable and resilient maintenance systems.
Session 3: Training of usage in infrastructure database on VPIC and AID
The Virtual PIDA Information Centre (VPIC) and African Infrastructure Database (AID) serve as repositories of data and e-platforms for information and knowledge sharing on infrastructure development. Mr. Ephrem Getahun, PIDA Information Management Specialist, AUDA-NEPAD provided training: ranging from enhancement the quality and improve the frequency of data collection on OSBP within the framework of PIDA projects, and technical flows of data addition/edition into AID to manage their metadata descriptions such as project characteristics, economic indicators, financial parameters, and implementation status.
Conclusion and key next step:
Training of Trainers Seminar on OSBP Design and Operations successfully managed to create a platform of engagement with highly committed leaders and experts in OSBP designs and operations. The training was also enhanced a mutual understanding for OSBP trainers, policymakers, and practitioners on priorities and issues of border governance post- and during the current COVID-19 pandemic. For the next steps, annual capacity building on OSBP is needed to address risks present in border posts spanning the African continent, together with regular engagement for OSBP users and border agencies to enhance clear understanding on the ground in the achievement of smooth and streamlined of procedures.
The Heads of State approved the 69 PIDA Priority Action Plan II projects during the Africa Union Heads of State and Government Summit held in February 2021. Subsequent to the approval, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) held a technical meeting on the 5th and 6th of May 2021 to discuss the status of each of the PIDA PAP II Infrastructure projects.
As the lead coordinating agency for the PIDA PAP II projects, AUDA-NEPAD organized a two-day virtual technical meeting to discuss the list of PIDA PAP II projects. The meeting was attended by technical experts from PIDA stakeholders, African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AFDB) United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and Member States (Project Owners) to appraise the status of the projects and for AUDA-NEPAD to present the next steps on PIDA PAP II projects as well as present the PIDA instruments and accompanying strategies (i.e. Implementation Strategy, Financing Strategy, and Partnerships Strategy) that are used to support the acceleration of PIDA PAP II projects as well as discuss the status of each project.
The 69 PIDA PAP II projects discuss at the event, consist of 28 Transport Projects, 18 Energy Projects, 12 Water Projects, and 11 Information Communication Technology (ICT) projects. These projects were presented by the respective RECS and Member States (Project Owners) in parallel sessions arranged according to the REC. This enabled participants to gather more in-depth information through a wide lensed overview for each sector project and region. As part of the technical discussions at the event, AUDA-NEPAD, AfDB, and UNECA presented the PIDA PAP II Implementation Strategy, Financing Strategy, and Partnerships Strategy respectively to showcase how these projects will be supported by the organizations in the implementation phase.
AUDA-NEPAD further presented instruments such as the Job Creation Toolkit, Service Delivery Mechanism (SDM), PIDA Quality Label (PQL), Quick Check Methodology (QCM), and the Continental Business Network (CBN). These instruments were developed to accelerate the PIDA PAP projects implementation. Instruments like SDM are key instruments for AUDA-NEPAD to drive project acceleration and strategic alignment for project implementation. Further information about these instruments can be found on Virtual PIDA Information Centre (VPIC), an online central platform used by PIDA to share information on PIDA Projects to all public users.
The virtual event successfully managed to create a platform of engagement for all participants to understand the status of each project presented. A clear and understandable process for PIDA PAP II was defined and an opportunity was presented for project sponsors to cooperate with PIDA Stakeholders to advance the projects. The event has enhanced a better and a clear understanding of the role of AUDA-NEPAD, together with Partners, Stakeholders, in the advancement of PIDA PAP II projects as well as highlighted the need of each project.
The Union Member States, Regional Economic Communities, and continental institutions get together virtually for PIDA Continental Technical Validation Workshop. The workshop presented the process, outcome, and the draft priority list of projects for the second phase of the PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA PAP2) which has entered an active consultation phase in November 2019.
Over 70 regional infrastructure projects in the 4 PIDA sectors: Energy, Transport, Trans-Boundary Water, and ICT have been prioritized from a long list of over 240 projects proposed by the Member States, RECs, and Specialized Institutions. The balance projects will constitute a reserve list that will serve to replenish the priority list at planned reviews during the 10-year implementation time frame from 2021 to 2030.
Opening the workshop, African Union Commission (AUC) Director for Infrastructure and Energy, Mr. Cheikh Bedda, highlighted that “PIDA PAP 2 has benefitted from the learning experience of PAP1. “The second phase of PIDA has been guided by strategic directives for a shorter, more operational list of projects which promote an integrated, multi-sectorial corridor approach that is employment-oriented, gender-sensitive, and climate-friendly and that connects urban/industrial hubs with rural areas”, says the director.
The PIDA task force of infrastructure experts from AUC, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), and African Development Bank (AfDB) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa(UNECA was mandated to guide the Member states and RECs to submit projects. Continuous engagement and a consultative and participative approach have led to the ownership of the PIDA process and priority list by the focal points. According to Mr. Bedda, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was a major challenge on the PIDA PAP2 process which led to a fully-digitalized process of project submission, selection, screening, and ranking process with active participation and engagement with RECs and MS focal points.
AfDB Infrastructure & Urban Development Amadou Oumarou commended the concerted efforts put in place by key stakeholders to develop PIDA PAP2 despite the unexpected challenges the pandemic has caused. He reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to supporting the implementation of PIDA PAP2, recalling that it has provided an estimated 7billion USD for PIDA projects in the past ten years making it the lead financier of the Continent’s infrastructure programs.
Private Sector Development & Finance Director with UNECA William Lugemwa emphasized the importance of involving the private sector from planning to execution of infrastructure for a higher rate of success in PIDA PAP2 implementation. Mr. William further noted that PIDA PAP2 projects align with agenda 2063 and agenda 2030.
There was a consensus among participants on the transparency and rigor of the PIDA PAP2 process which was aligned to the approved selection criteria and but also led to the selection of projects which are in the priority list of RECs and the Member States. It was also noted that the inclusiveness and sustainability criteria inbuilt into the PIDA selection process have prioritized infrastructure projects which will lead to economic and social impacts critical for Post-COVID recovery.
The workshop highlighted the importance of seamless and timely implementation of infrastructure projects was This will be facilitated by a package of tools developed by PIDA Institutions: Implementation Strategy by AUDA-NEPAD, Financing Strategy by AfDB, and Partnership Engagement Strategy by UNECA.
Speaking of the Implementation Strategy, Economic Integration Division Supervisor with AUDA-NEPAD Dr. Towela Jere, said guided by the framework of the Integrated Corridor Approach, the strategy is designed to provide a high-level overview of how PIDA PAP2 projects would be developed and progressed throughout the project lifecycle from planning to financial close which enhances project bankability and socio-economic development impact.
Based on the consensus achieved at this PIDA continental workshop, the priority list and process will be presented to the Specialized Technical Committee on Transport Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy, and Tourism (STC TTIIET) for further validation at the ministerial level. The list along with the strategic documents will be submitted to the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government in February 2021 for adoption.
The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the African Development Bank have released recommendations of a baseline study that looked into the development of a continental energy grid and market.
The study, supported by the European Union, is the first step in an ambitious project to create an efficient, competitive energy sector that helps to serve Africa’s vast non-connected population, which is key to the continent’s economic prospects. The recommendations were discussed at a roundtable meeting between the partners organized by the African Development Bank on Wednesday 28 October.
African Energy Ministers directed AUDA-NEPAD to promote a continental transmission masterplan during the AU Specialized Technical Committee meeting on Infrastructure (Transport, Energy and Tourism) held in Nouakchott and Cairo in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
“This will be a game changer, since, in the long term, a continental transmission network will allow energy trade within Africa, as well as off the continent, with Europe and Asia through existing links,” said Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD.
The baseline study constitutes the first of two phases of the masterplan. The next phase entails the development of the plan itself.
The European Union (EU) agreed to support Phase 1 under its EU Technical Assistance Facility (EU TAF) for sustainable energy, under the scope of the African Union-European Union partnership to harmonize the African Single Electricity Market Regulatory Framework.
The baseline study goals included: a review of the existing masterplans developed by each of the five regional power pools in Africa and to identify power generation capacity and power demand up to 2063 and to develop the terms of reference for phase 2.
“Our continent has a vision to develop a single electricity grid that will guarantee secure, reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity supplies to enhance the economic prospects of the continent, especially for our children. This can only be realized with a well-coordinated, widely accepted and highly articulated masterplan,” said Cheikh Bedda, Director Energy, at the African Union Commission.
The recommendations of the baseline study include: establishing a permanent unit to develop the masterplan in order to produce a skills transfer within AUDA-NEPAD and the five regional power pools, and aligning the plan with existing infrastructure projects, such as those identified under the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, AUDA-NEPAD and the African Development Bank.
The next steps are to develop the terms of reference for phase two and to discuss how the masterplan will be funded.
“The continental masterplan will provide a holistic roadmap to connect countries to each other within a single regional power pool and to connect the power pools into a single electricity market, promoting energy access and regional integration,” said Kevin Kariuki, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate & Green Growth at the African Development Bank Group.
Over 640 million Africans have no access to energy, corresponding to an electricity access rate for African countries at just over 40 percent, the lowest in the world. Per capita consumption of energy in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) is 180 kWh, compared to 13,000 kWh per capita in the United States and 6,500 kWh in Europe.
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