Press Releases

ECOWAS and UEMOA Member States meet in preparation for the upcoming 12th WTO Ministerial Conference

12 Nov, 2021

The Commissions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU/UEMOA), in collaboration with the World Trade Organization (WTO), organized a virtual preparatory meeting for ECOWAS/UEMOA Member States on 11 and 12 November 2021 with the aim of ensuring an effective participation in the upcoming 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) taking place in Geneva from 30 November – 3 December 2021.

Today, the rules based multilateral trading system faces multiple challenges including the cessation of the Appellate Body of the WTO Dispute Settle mechanism. Furthermore, the COVID19 pandemic, which led to an unprecedented disruption to global supply chains, resulted in increased protectionism at a time when improved access to essential goods was required. Key outstanding issues under consideration for MC12 include Agriculture, Fisheries and Trade & Health. There are also newer issues for discussion such as Electronic commerce; Facilitation of investments for development; Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME); and Internal regulations in the field of services. The meeting provided representatives of the region with important updates on the status of negotiations in order to guide their positions during the Ministerial Conference.

In his opening remarks, Honourable Herbet KAPRA, Deputy Minister in charge of International Trade of the Republic of Ghana, stated the need to preserve the strides made by ECOWAS and African Heads of States and Governments to promote an export led industrialization through initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He stressed the need to participate in the WTO Ministerial Conference in a spirit of unity and solidarity, with consolidated positions.

On behalf of Mr. Tei KONZI, Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of People at the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Kolawole SOFOLA, Acting Director of Trade, highlighted various challenges facing the multilateral trading system and the importance of a successful outcome by Trade ministers at MC12.

In her remarks, Madame Rose TIEMOKO KABRAN, Director of Trade at the UEMOA Commission, presented various initiatives taken to build capacity of trade experts to effectively participate at trade negotiators. She expressed her appreciation to the support provided by partners such as the WTO.

In his remarks, Mr. Aimé Murigande, Head of Section at the Institute of Training and Technical Cooperation of the WTO, congratulated the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions for their continuous efforts to support their Member States especially in the area of Trade Negotiations. He reiterated the commitment of the WTO to work alongside along its Members to ensure a well-functioning multilateral trading system.
The two day virtual meeting was attended by Senior Trade Officials from ECOWAS Member States based in their respective capitals and Geneva missions, as well as officials from ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions, and the WTO Secretariat.

Member States