West African governments have been called upon to embrace technology and innovation to promote cross-border trade.
The Chairman of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme Task Force, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, who made the call said the technology would address some trade facilitation bottlenecks that are currently impeding economic activities and ensure a change in business processes within the sub-region.
He was speaking at the opening of a two-day sub-regional stakeholders’ workshop on a small-scale cross-border trade for key trade sectors from Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Benin in Accra.
It is on the theme: “promoting small-scale cross-border trade, rule of law and use of technology perfecter of sentiments (POS) Foundation in West Africa”.
The workshop is being organised by the POS Foundation, an advocacy Organisation, in partnership with the Ghana International Trade Commission, with support from the German Development Cooperation (GIZ).
Participants are evaluating a web portal that provides a one-stop information hub on business operations, procedures of registration, legal framework, links of respective agencies, and laws in participating countries to inform prospective investors and entrepreneurs on the business environment and also ensure continuous networking of small-scale businesses and markets across the sub-region.
Dr. Chambas said, Small Medium Enterprises, SME’s form a huge part of intra-regional trade, yet official statistics indicate that over a decade, intra- regional trade hovers around 13 and 15%, while within the European Union, it is about 60% and about 65% in Asia.
The Executive Director of the POS Foundation, Jonathan Osei Owusu, said it is important to promote regional integration, as it aids countries to overcome divisions that impede the flow of goods, services, people, capital and ideas.