The ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs, Tourism, and Mines, Industry and Free Movement Alhaji Mohamed B Daramy has told the ECOWAS Business Forum in Ghana that “Recommendations conclusions resolutions is not going to solve the problem for the West African region only action”
The former Sierra Leone Minister of Development and Economic Planning under the SLPP government was presenting a paper on the Status of Regional Integration the Common Market and Investment Climate at the ECOBANK sponsored first ECOWAS Business Forum which is going on in Accra, Ghana.
Alhaji Daramy catalogued the efforts ECOWAS has undertaken so far to facilitate trade, pointing out the completion of studies on a common customs code, common definition of customs value, harmonization of Value Added Tax; studies on regional competition and investment policies; and the development of a common West African Industrial policy.
However he noted that challenges still remain for the establishment of a common sub-regional market with the potential to serve 250 million people
Alhaji Daramy lamented that the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme has not progressed due to problems about definition of rules of origin, and has failed to enhance competitiveness, failed to establish private-public partnerships while they also “lack knowledge of the specific industrial capacities and capabilities across the whole value chain of member countries”.
The ECOWAS Trade Commissioner called on member states “to domesticate, to make policies adopted at the regional level part of their national development policies”.
He stated “there is no easy way out of regional integration we have to stand together or we have to break one another” maintaining “we should not allow ourselves to be divided along francophone Anglophone large or small we are all part of our regional grouping.”
Alhaji Daramy noted that “the (ECOWAS) treaty is very silent is very specific we have to take your small island developing country to meet the voice of Nigeria in ECOWAS the same as the voice of small Gambia, small Cape Verde this is the regional posture we are trying to portray and let me tell you since this Commission came into been going in this direction for the integration of the sub region we are all determined to make sure within the next five years we have a new region named as West Africa.”