ECOWAS Member States meet to consider Offers and Requests for Trade in Services under AfCFTA

Group Photo
Group Photo

The ECOWAS Commission organized the Sixth (6th) Regional Meeting on the ECOWAS Schedule of Commitments on Trade in Services in order to consider the ECOWAS Offer in the five (5) priority Services sectors under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Protocol on Trade in Services.

In a speech read on behalf of Mr. Tèi KONZI, ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs & Free Movement, Mr. Kolawole SOFOLA, Acting Director of Trade welcomed the Experts to the meeting. He highlighted the support provided by the ECOWAS Commission to its Member States to ensure their Schedules of Commitments on Trade in Services were in line with the negotiations modalities, as well as consolidating individual offers into an ECOWAS Schedule of Commitments.

In her remarks, Ms. Beatrice CHAYTOR, Senior Expert – Trade in Services at the AfCFTA Secretariat, commended the ECOWAS Commission and its Member States for the ongoing revision of their respective offers and advised that ECOWAS should further promote Trade in Services as a means to strengthening regional value chains. She reiterated the support of the AfCFTA Secretariat to facilitate the negotiations between State and non-State Parties.

Before declaring the meeting open, the Director of Bilateral, Regional and Multilateral Trade at the Ministry of Trade & Industry of the Republic of Ghana, Mr. Mickson OPOKU reminded Experts of the overall objective of the meeting which was to review and update the draft ECOWAS Schedule on Trade in Services. He urged participants to take into consideration advancements made in the regional integration agenda in the course of their deliberations.

The meeting also featured capacity building on key topics on Trade in Services including scheduling with the Economic Needs Test (ENT), and a methodology for verifying Offers.

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To date, 42 out of the 54 African Countries have ratified the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA with 39 depositing their instruments of ratification at the African Union Commission. Regarding Trade in Services, so far, 43 State and non-State parties have submitted their initial Offers.

The 6th Regional meeting, which was held in Accra, Ghana from 27-29 October 2021, was attended by Trade in Services experts from ECOWAS Member States, as well as officials from the ECOWAS and WAEMU Commissions.

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