Facilitating Trade in West Africa

Project description

Title: Promoting Trade in West Africa II (WATIP II)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) 
Co-funded by: European Union (EU)
Country: ECOWAS region, based in Nigeria
Lead executing agency: ECOWAS Commission 
Overall term: 2018 to 2022



The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has a young and growing population and is rich in natural resources. Trade potential in the region is high, yet intra-regional trade accounts for only ten per cent of the trade volume of the member states. Until now, trade in the region has been characterised by high transaction costs, custom duties, non-tariff barriers and a lack of harmonisation. Regional approaches could foster trade, facilitate transport of goods and promote common standards.




The ECOWAS Commission is increasingly contributing to implementing regional resolutions in trade, customs, and tax policy.


Cooperating with the ECOWAS Commission the project implements trade-enhancing measures in four areas:

It supports the development and effective implementation of regional policies and instruments for trade facilitation, such as the ECOWAS Common External Tariff and the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme

It promotes the efficient transport of goods in the Trade Corridor between Dakar and Bamako. To this end, it cooperates with the private sector and the IT-based ECOWAS interconnectivity system SIGMAT, which automatically transfers relevant transit-related data.

It supports the ECOWAS Commission in its active dialogue with the private sector and civil society to address trade-specific concerns and promote their role in the trade facilitation process.

It assists the ECOWAS Commission in the transition from tariff revenue towards domestic duties, by coordinating and implementing relevant policies, a code of ethics and technical trainings.

WATIP II is co-financed by the European Union and part of the multi-donor programme Trade Facilitation West Africa Program (TFWA), implemented jointly with the World Bank Group.

Last update: October 2021

Additional information