The countries in which ITC works in West and Central Africa experience varying levels of challenges when it comes to trade and development. West Africa is represented by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Central Africa is represented by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Both regions include least developed countries (LDCs), developing countries, small island developing states and land locked developing countries, implying different challenges. ITC’s approach to technical assistance in the regions is three-fold, focusing on:
At regional level, ITC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with both the ECOWAS and ECCAS Secretariats under the new Programme for Building African Capacity for Trade (PACT II). It supports the regional economic groups and local partners in its inter-regional and sectoral trade promotion, working in collaboration with trade support institutions as well as business organizations. In addition, in the ECOWAS region ITC has established a network of experts on various trade-related topics.
Given the significant number of LDCs within the two sub-regions, the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) is a key driver of trade related technical assistance. ITC has played a critical role in developing and implementing projects under the Integrated Framework (IF), and is completing these projects in a number of countries: Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Sao Tomé and Principe and Sierra Leone. ITC now stands ready to support Tier 2 EIF projects where required to do so. ITC is also engaged in a number of other country level initiatives. In Mali, for example, ITC is assisting the government in its effort to diversify export markets for its horticultural sector. In Senegal ITC has been engaged in capacity building of the trade promotion organisation, ASEPEX, and will continue to deliver projects under the Netherlands Trust Fund programme (NTFII). In Cote d’Ivoire, a four-year programme is underway to enhance the country’s economic competitiveness and contribute to its integration into sub-regional and international markets.
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