Business News of Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Source: Solomon Anderson
Borderless Alliance has held its 7th annual regional conference in Bamako, Mali to deliberate on securing corridor management for improved trade and transport in West Africa.
Borderless Alliance is a public-private platform that interacts with all stakeholders at the various levels of the trade and transport industry to facilitate optimum production across the African borders. The conference, therefore, sought to address the contemporary challenges in the trade and transport business within the West African Sub-region.
Stakeholders present at the meeting constituted private and public advocacy groups of the port, maritime, transit and transshipment business as well as representatives of public agencies involved in international trade across West Africa and Africa in general.
The stakeholders shared their concerns geared towards achieving efficient corridor management for improved trade and transport in West Africa. Issues raised at the conference included the call for a reduction in road barriers and security checkpoints on the Ghanaian corridor.
Participating Ports were urged to put in place measures to reduce cargo dwell time as that would inure to the benefits of importers. Again, it was agreed that there should be uniform application of the axle load regime in the region.
The Ghanaian Ambassador to Burkina Faso raised concern about the non-compliance of the francophone countries to implement the axle-load policy. He said it has served as an injustice to Ghana, which has complied with the implementation of the policy since 2009.
“The ECOWAS protocol, for example, Ghana is implementing this protocol, but a lot more countries in the sub-region, especially the francophones, are not implementing the protocol and it is detrimental to those implementing the protocol because the operators are running away from our route to the other routes where the protocol are not being implemented,” he lamented.
Recommendations made at the conference were that there should be a single insurance document to provide insurance cover for truck drivers operating along the corridor, actors should be sensitized on their obligations and rights to avoid unnecessary harassment along the corridor, there should be harmonized procedures along the borders and also create awareness among public servants along the borders.
Other recommendations included encouraging government to intensify the creation of infrastructure like roads, rail, warehouses etc. to facilitate trade in the region, emulate best practices of the Northern Corridor by establishing freight/truck parks, attached with well centres at strategic locations along the corridors for users of the corridor and collaboration among custom officials and efficient communication modes in countries in the region to facilitate trade and movement of goods.
The Borderless conference was highly patronized by Ghana as a country pivotal to the transit trade in the West African sub-region. Representatives from the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ghana Shippers’ Authority, contributed to optimizing the transit trade.