Road transport infrastructure is relatively well developed in West Africa, but the volume of transport flows within the region remains low. The main reasons of these relatively modest traffic flows along the interstate corridors are:
- The existence of numerous check points;
- The non-tariff barriers due to uncoordinated procedures for goods and passengers interstate traffic.
These obstacles generate both increases of transport costs and travel time. As results of this situation inter-states traffic is constrained preventing economic integration and efficient specialisation of, for example, port infrastructure. In general transport costs and travel time increases impact on final users directly increasing prices of all commodities traded both domestically and internationally (i.e. imports and exports). This situation clearly jeopardise social and economic development of all countries of the region and, in turn, their economic integration.
To accelerate effective facilitation of road transport, ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions elaborated the Regional Road Transport and Transit Facilitation Programme for West Africa by harmonizing their transit facilitation programmes. The components of this programme involve, inter alia, the following activities:
- Simplification and harmonization of road transport regulations, procedures and documents;
- Establishment of joint control posts at borders along inter-State corridors;
- Updating of the road transit information system;
Given the importance of this issue, EU granted the ECOWAS’ Commission 63.8 Million Euros funded from the 9th EDF Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) to finance a technical assistance “Transport Facilitation team” and identified sub-programs aimed at reducing constraints in the trans-border movements of passengers, goods and vehicles and enhancing regional integration and reduce poverty in West Africa.
Project Objectives and expected results Overall objectives of the project
- to facilitate free movement of persons and goods, promote inter-regional trade and ensure regional integration in West Africa;
to abolish trade barriers
- to reduce poverty by improving regional transport services and minimising costs;
- Provision of Technical Assistance for the implementation, including administrative and financial management of the “RIP 9th EDF – Transport Facilitation Project” in accordance with the financing agreement and EDF procedures;
- Assisting ECOWAS and UEMOA for the preparation and implementation of specific activities related to the various transport sectors: road, air, rail and maritime as foreseen in the financing agreement.