Abuja, June 22, 2023:The Government of Senegal has inaugurated the Expert work Group Meeting for examining report of the study on Opportunities of Regional Value Chains in West Africa.
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in a statement, said the study would help drive the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on the continent.
The statement said the study was inaugurated through the Ministry of Trade, of Consumer and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, in Senegal.
It said the meeting was organised by the Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the ECA (ECA/SRO-WA) in collaboration with the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
According to the statement, the meeting aims at examining and improving the draft report of the study on the main value chain opportunities in West Africa.
” It will inform and mobilise the private sector and their umbrella structures at regional level in the project to develop value chains in West Africa in the context of the AfCFTA.
” It also aims at agreeing on a sub-regional roadmap for the implementation of the study recommendations and development of value chains in West Africa, in line with ECOWAS initiatives in this area,” it said.
The Secretary-General of Senegal’s Ministry of Trade, of Consumer and Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr Makhtar Lakh explained the importance of the value chain.
According to him, Axis 1 of the Senegal Emerging Plan targets, among other things, a successful insertion into global value chains.
The Director of ECA/SRO-WA, Ngone Diop affirmed that the multifaceted crises had affected the continent.
”The COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the climate crisis have slowed down or even annihilated the development efforts of the countries in the West African sub-region.
”This is shown in the deceleration of economic growth estimated to an average of two per cent in 2020, compared to 3.4 per cent in 2019.
”Thus, the positioning of West African economies in value chains, through tariff and non-tariff disarmament, should be an integral part of a more comprehensive approach to the integration of production and trade sectors in the AfCFTA,” Diop explained.
She, however, said it was necessary to identify and prioritise regional value chains capable of positioning the region as a production and a preferred trade center, competitive within the “single African market”.
The UNDP Regional Office representative, Stephane Amani said the development of value chains would impact on the acceleration of the SDGs such as poverty, hunger reduction and job creation.
The Representative of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Christian Kafando stated that as part of the AfCFTA , it was important to focus on regional value chains.
”This will be done by building on the comparative and competitive advantages of member states of regional economic communities, such as ECOWAS.
”The promotion of regional value chains means that we examine the contributions of the key elements of these regional value chains.
”On the basis of the potentialities of our member states and their ability to create value at national and regional levels,” Kafando said.
Participants of the meeting included representatives of regional and national private sector organisations, ministries in charge of trade, industrialisation, SMEs/SMIs, agriculture and various national and regional trade committees.
Regional organisations (ECOWAS, UEMOA, AfCFTA Secretariat , etc.) and United Nations organisations such as ECA, UNDP, UNCTAD, ICC, UNIDO are also participants in this meeting.