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West African Traders Ignore ECOWAS Market


Thursday, 21 January 2016

West African Traders Ignore ECOWAS Market

West African exporters and traders have not taken advantage of over $140 billion market of the Economic Community of West African States as they show more preference for the European, Asian and American countries. The situation has robbed them of an opportunity to tap into a market of over 300 million people. Intra-regional trade among ECOWAS countries still lies at 12 percent. This is insignificant compared with other regions with over 25 percent intra-regional trade. “Intra-regional trade in ECOWAS is still consistently low at about 12 percent,” said Kalilou Traore, ECOWAS commissioner for industry and private sector promotion, while announcing plans to establish ECOWAS Business Houses (EBH). “Our expectation is that within the first five years of establishment of the regional EBH, apart from boosting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the regional economies, made in ECOWAS States product will be viable and visibly present for business in the regional market and companies to reap the gains from international trade,” Traore said. Intra-trade commodities among West Africans include copper, zincs, rubber, cement, foods, bathroom slippers, stationery, leather, clothes and palm oil, among others. In 2014, Nigeria’s non-oil export to ECOWAS stood at $2.43 billion, which was less than 15 percent of the total export within the year.

Source: Footprint to Africa