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ECOWAS Laments Low Trade Volume Among Member States

It insists the present political situation in West Africa should not be the only yardstick to judge bloc.

The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Dr. Alieu Touray has decried that the current political situations within the subregion has overshadowed the efforts of the regional bloc at addressing the needs of citizens of the community.

He said this, even as he lamented the low trade volume amongst member states, which hovers in the region of 12%.

Touray also said the trade volume within the larger African continent was not also impressive as it stands under 20%.

Speaking at the maiden briefing on the activities of the sub-regional body on Wednesday in Abuja, Touray said: “There is so much more that ECOWAS is engaged in, as ECOWAS is present in virtually all facets of human development in the region, planning and providing
for the contemporary needs of the community.

“Unfortunately, these laudable strides in the region’s relentless march towards
an economic union have been overshadowed by contemporary political

He said with the strategies and policies in place to encourage trading and movement of goods and people within the subregion, it is disheartening that trade amongst member states is abysmally low, noting that: “At the moment, our intra community trade stands around 12%. On the whole in Africa, intra continental trade is under 20% which is extremely low.”

He said: “If you look at developed countries, countries that are sufficiently integrated or regions that are sufficiently reintegrated, intra continental  trade alone is around 60 to 70%.

” So we have a long way to go. Very long way to go and this is why it is important that we open our markets for our own produce, our own manufactured items.”

He also stressed the need to have sufficient local content on production within the sub-region.

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

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