West African trade needs all-inclusive commitment


“There are three areas: the people themselves, the government that runs these respective countries and then the facility. In terms of the facility for us to push trade within our region, it is there,” Mcintosh, the vice president of ECOWAS told CNBC Africa on Wednesday.

“What needs to be done to carry out movement in the region is to tackle those areas that promote investment, areas that then facilitate the movement of goods and people.” 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was founded in 1975 to promote economic integration in the region. Member states include Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and the Togolese Republic among others.


Mcintosh insists the organisation is committed to aiding the West Africa region in any way that it can.

A 250-man delegation of ECOWAS officials and members will be in Mali to observe the country’s elections on July 28, 2013, in an effort to ensure a peaceful and credible election in the West African member state. The April 2012 election was suspended due to political unrest in the country.

Ensuring that these countries are well run is a fundamental part of promoting trade. Mcintosh alluded to the fact that policy and the ease of movement between countries is also crucial.   

“The government’s commitment is as important because they have to come up with the policies to help,” he explained.

“One more thing is important, the travelling documents, the harassment between borders. I think there is where we want to focus some attention. If you ease that area and people can move freely, you are, in effect, supporting trade and movement.”