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African Development Bank approves new strategy to promote trade, integration in West Africa

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a new strategy designed to strengthen regional trade and integration in West Africa.

The new strategy will also enhance linkage of regional markets, support to regional research and training centers, capacity building, as well as regional transport infrastructure, according to AfDB.

“The 2011-2015 Regional Integration Strategy Paper for West Africa underlined that regional integration and boosting intra-regional trade were critical to achieving more diversified development and inclusive growth among countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),” said the Bank in a statement November 11, 2011.

Approving the strategy paper, the Bank’s Board of Directors, according to the statement, noted that despite many challenges and regional realities, progress toward integration in West Africa had already been achieved with the establishment of a customs union, free movement of people, an ECOWAS passport and the transformation of the community’s secretariat into a commission.

Janvier Litse, AfDB’s regional director for West Africa who spoke after the strategy approval said that the new regional blueprint document will serve as the Bank’s strategic business model for supporting other regional integration operations in Africa.

He explained that the paper was aligned with the ECOWAS strategic plan and 2020 vision aimed at upgrading the institution from a community of states to a people’s community.

By Ekow Quandzie

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