The Fifth (5th) Regional Meeting on the Development of the ECOWAS E-commerce Strategy met in Accra, Ghana on the 20th to 21st of March 2023 to validate the draft ECOWAS E-commerce Strategy for onward submission to Ministers responsible for Trade.
The ECOWAS E-commerce Strategy is in line with the ambitions of the African Union Agenda 2063 and ECOWAS Vision 2050, to leverage digitalization for economic development and seeks to create “a sustainable, inclusive and secure e-commerce ecosystem supportive of ECOWAS’ efforts to use technology to accelerate structural change and foster regional integration through economic diversification and job creation”. It’s four strategic goals focuses on institutional strengthening, securing trust along the e-commerce supply chain, providing e-commerce intelligence, and Inclusion of marginalised and vulnerable groups.
In his welcome remarks, Prof. Kwaku Appiah-Adu, Senior Advisor, Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, highlighted the potential of the digital economy for Africa’s future, emphasizing the importance of addressing existing challenges around connectivity, electricity and the need to ensure that marginalized and vulnerable groups benefit from the digital economy. He urged Member States to leverage on the ECOWAS E-commerce Strategy to promote a common vision of a vibrant and inclusive digital economy for West Africa.
On behalf of Mrs. Massandjé Toure-Liste, Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture at the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Kolawole Sofola, Ag. Director of Trade, emphasized the importance of the strategy to the region’s efforts to use technology as a tool for development. He congratulated Member States on the attainment of this important milestone, stating the effective implementation of the ECOWAS E-commerce Strategy would lead to an increase in the adoption and use of e-commerce in the region, support digital-driven structural transformation of the economies of Member States, and deepen regional trade integration.
Ms. Cécile Barayre-El Shami, Chief, Digital Economy Capacity-building Section,
E-commerce and Digital Economy Branch, Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD, reiterated the continuous commitment of UNCTAD to support ECOWAS in the implementation of the Strategy. She highlighted successful factors for its implementation, include strong political leadership, and robust coordination framework at both the national and regional levels.
The meeting was attended by Senior Officials from ECOWAS Member States representing ministries responsible for Trade and Information Communication Technology (ICT), as well as representatives of the ECOWAS Commission, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the Kingdom of Netherlands.