Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, has disclosed that his office has received a grant commitment from the United Kingdom government for the Abidjan-Lagos corridor.
He said that the grant would be used to address infrastructural challenges on the Abidjan-Lagos corridor.
According to Mr. Mene, the African Development Bank (AfDB) was also involved in raising funds for infrastructure to make it easier for movement of goods from one country to the other and noted that they would focus on equipment that would ensure productivity and efficiency of transit goods.
“We will work very hard to ensure that we deploy the necessary political and other resources that are required,” he added.
He said that the Secretariat would continue to mobilize resources to solve the infrastructural challenges on the corridor.
The AfCFTA boss said that they were also in discussion with the commissioner for trade of ECOWAS to compliment the work they had done to achieve the desired result.
He revealed that they would work with the Customs to address the challenges, noting that it would not happen overnight.
On transit, Mr. Mene said that the agreement establishing the AfCFTA had rules on transit, customs procedures, harmonization as well as trade facilitation.
The Comptroller of Seme Sector Command of Nigeria’s Customs, Mohammed Jibo, said that interconnectivity gap was the major issue limiting trade facilitation, adding that some of the equipment that would enhance connectivity were lying fallow in the command.
Earlier, Frank Matsaert, Chief Executive Officer, Trade Mark East Africa, contractor in charge of assessing the Abidjan-Lagos corridor, listed key findings that should be followed up as infrastructure, interconnectivity gaps and limited connectivity.
He said others were high trade cost, logistics-capacity and professionalism; informal trade highly complex, lack of cross border traders’ awareness, security concerns and limited corridor approach.
He said that implementing the road map for the corridor would take three phases; phase one would take one to two years; phase two; three to five years and the phase three, four to seven years.
It will be recalled that the UK Government announced financial support worth up to £35m to the AfCFTA Secretariat a few weeks ago during the visit of the Secretary General to the United Kingdom.