The ECOWAS Commission, through its Directorates of Trade, Customs Union & Taxation, and Free Movement of Persons & Migration, along with the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre, launched an awareness-raising campaign on Small Scale Cross Border Trade (SSCBT) for traders, particularly women in the city of Tema – Ghana, October 9th October 2023.

This launch is the first step in a series of activities designed as a multifunctional platform for interactions between policymakers and women traders. It aims to foster greater collaboration among institutions involved in trade and support women by addressing their specific needs and challenges within the context of regional trade.

Stella Akosua Ansah, director, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) who represented the Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry, hailed the ECOWAS Commission for exposing cross-border traders to the existing protocols and regulations, which will go a long way in creating a more effective and efficient trading environment and improve their contributions to the regional economy.

Ambassador Babagana Wakil, the ECOWAS Representative to Ghana, emphasized ECOWAS’ commitment to facilitating free trade across borders. He highlighted the numerous texts and policies adopted by the Heads of States in support of free movement of persons and goods. He called on Member States to implement these policies which would facilitate business for traders across all borders and reduce bottle neck and delays.

Kolawole Sofola, ECOWAS Commission’s acting director of wrade, who spoke on behalf of Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, commissioner, Economic Affairs & Agriculture and Prof. Fatou SOW SARR, Commissioners, Human Development & Social Affairs in his opening remarks, expressed ECOWAS’ profound appreciation to the Government and People of the Republic of Ghana, for graciously agreeing to host this event. He reiterated the Commission’s commitment in addressing the challenges faced by the regional traders through the 4 x 4 Strategic Objectives of 2022 – 2026. He concluded with a call for all stakeholders to work together to eliminate barriers to trade and make Trade work for All.

The Ghanaian Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Francisca Oteng Mensah, who was represented by the director, the gender department, Faustina Achempong, officially launched the series of activities for the Campaign, highlighting the important role played by small-scale cross-border traders in regional integration, who are essential bridges between neighboring states, contributing to economic cooperation and collaboration. She stated that, ensuring they are well-informed about trade regulations will make cross-border transactions easier for all, with Gender equality and women’s empowerment being very crucial to women liberation and sustainable national development.

The campaign consists of a series of activities which includes a roadshow along the Tema- Ouagadougou Corridor Highway, traversing through several cities; Tema, Accra, Kumasi, Techiman, and Paga. During the Town hall meetings, the delegation will engage with traders of SSCBT, especially women, who operate along this corridor, where they will share their experiences and challenges faced in their line of business.

Participants included, representatives from Member States, Small Scale Cross border traders, Women Traders Association, representatives of the Ghana Ministries of Trade and Industry; Gender, Children & Social protection and a delegation from ECOWAS.

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