Introduction: The Changing Landscape of Trade Facilitation and Regional Development Issues in West Africa
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The advent of technological advancement, digital commerce, and increased trade integration has continued to strengthen South-South regional trade institutions, partnerships, and capacities. With Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) now accounting for a substantive share of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and the robust economic growth and trade expansion being experienced in Africa, collaboration between governments, regulators, and organized private sectors is crucial for enhancing trade facilitation capacities in Africa. However, the continent and its sub-regions are continually being confronted by increasing trade costs arising from non-tariff sources, such as inefficient transportation, weak logistics infrastructure, cumbersome regulatory procedures, lengthy customs processes, and incoherent business documentation, thereby placing Africa at a competitively disadvantaged position. While discussing selected regional integration and development initiatives in West Africa, the article expatiates on the strategic importance of advancing trade facilitation agenda in the face of increasing non-tariff measures (NTMs) and the ongoing African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) negotiations.
KeywordsTrade facilitation Non-tariff measures AfCFTA West Africa ECOWAS WTO
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