The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) sensitized member of the media on the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) in an interactive meeting on 2nd December 2019 in Abuja Nigeria.
The meeting was convened to build the capacity of the media in Nigeria and adequately inform them to better understand and disseminate information to Community citizens about the programmes’ objectives and activities.
WACOMP funded to the tune of €120m by the European Union (EU) aims to support several selected value chains at the national and regional level to promote structural transformation and better access to regional and international markets, thereby also empowering a great portion of the West African Private Sector to meaningfully participate and maximise the benefits available from the Programme.
This, the programme will achieve by improving the business climate at the national and regional levels by ensuring policies that favour competitiveness are mainstreamed in ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania.
The budget for the regional component of the programme is €15m, the national components €97m while the WACOMP Observatory also known as WACOB will cost €8m. The Observatory will serve to improve access of the private and public sector to reliable and comprehensive information and data which will enable policymakers to formulate, implement and monitor policies and strategies that will contribute to West Africa’s competitiveness.
It will achieve this by collecting qualitative and quantitative data and information on competitiveness from identified sources, create a database of relevant information and services for the public and private sectors as well as analyse and evaluate the impact of policies on trade, business and competitiveness performance in West Africa.
The highly interactive session featured presentations from ECOWAS, ITC and UNIDO on the programme, its achievements and its Communication and Branding guidelines.
Representing the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Kolawole Sofola stated that this meeting was crucial and demonstrates the value placed on the role of the media in the implementation of the program by ECOWAS and its implementing partners.
Also addressing participants at the meeting Chief Technical Adviser, Natasha Aniekwu stated the WACOMP project will cement relations between ITC and the ECOWAS Commission. “Both institutions will move towards increased intra-regional trade with the establishment of the ECOWAS Trade Map tool which will monitor trade performance in the region, as the trade obstacles alert mechanism (TOAM) tracks trade barriers at a national and regional level for SMEs and MSMEs.”
The programme which commenced in 2018 will be implemented in two phases, covering eight countries per phase, and the national and regional components.