The ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with the European Union through GIZ has commenced a five-day capacity-building programme for journalists on WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and AfCFTA agreement.
The event, which is being held in Dakar, Senegal from 7 to 11 November 2022, is expected to educate and inform the media, a critical partner, on the efforts of Member States in the implementation of trade agreements.
Among the objectives of the training programme are to support trade journalists to develop their understanding of the trade agreements, to build their capacity to report and provide critical inputs on trade facilitation policy and to promote regional multi-stakeholder dialogue on issues relating to regional, continental and WTO trade policies and agreements.
In a speech read on her behalf at the opening ceremony, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Madame Massandjé Toure-Litse, said trade facilitation is at the heart of ECOWAS regional integration and forms a critical component of the ECOWAS Vision 2050.
Madame Massandjé Toure-Litse reiterated the commitment of ECOWAS towards the implementation of various trade protocols particularly the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation which was ratified by two-thirds of the 164 WTO Members.
At the continental level, she indicated that the entry into force of the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), whose objective is to create a single continental market for goods and services while ensuring the free movement of businessmen and investments in the region.
Madame Massandjé Toure-Litse opined that a better understanding of TFA and AfCFTA by the media would help bridge the information gap as well as raise awareness of the importance of these trade agreements in stimulating economic growth in the sub-region.
The component leader for GIZ, Mr Matthieu Segard said GIZ is honoured to collaborate with the ECOWAS Commission and Member States in their various economic integration initiatives, to build an understanding of the public in these programmes and projects.
He noted that GIZ, through the Trade Facilitation West Africa Programme (TFWA), funded by the European Union (EU), has been working with stakeholders to improve trade and investments in the sub-region.
GIZ’s support measures, according to him, often require collaborative efforts with journalists, and public and private sector partners in carrying out targeted activities to achieve set objectives.
He further stated that with new trade agreements and protocols, it is necessary for stakeholders to be aware of these emerging trends and to understand the implications for the national economy.
He reassured the commitment of GIZ to strengthening regional integration for the achievement of ECOWAS Vision 2050.
The capacity building workshop, which is the first batch of training for journalist ends on Friday 11 November 2022, has in attendance journalists drawn from five-member states in the ECOWAS sub-region namely Guinea, Mali, Benin Republic, Guiné–Bissau and Cabo Verde.