Barriers to trade between Ghana and Nigeria

By | June 11, 2014

Actually, the full title of the note is: “Removing Barriers to Trade between Ghana and Nigeria: Strengthening Regional Integration by Implementing ECOWAS Commitments”:

This note assesses the challenges that goods exporters within the region face when trying to benefit from the ECOWAS-wide Free Trade Area. It focuses on the experience of 30 exporting companies in Ghana that we interviewed to understand the difficulties of exporting to Nigeria under the scheme. Complaints about the lack of implementation of existing commitments are consistent but often vague.

The study finds that Ghanaian manufacturers believe the key barriers to increasing trade with Nigeria include substantial informal payments and delays — regardless of whether documentation is complete — transit charges, and requirements for product registration. Despite the relatively small sample size, we conclude are confident that these findings, which support recent findings by the West Africa Trade Hub, also apply to a wider range of economic operators in Ghana.

Implementing existing commitments in Ghana and Nigeria, and facilitating trade flows between them, would be a critical move towards achieving freer trade and deeper integration within the region. Getting policies right in these two large and dynamic economies should be a priority within a policy dialogue that focuses on regional integration in West Africa because it will likely become a catalyst for deeper integration across that region.

Recommendations include, well, implementing existing commitments on regional trade, especially within the context of ECOWAS, and making the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) functional – ETLS is the ECOWAS scheme that covers trade between Community countries.

The full note is here.