FULFILLING THE ECOWAS PROTOCOL ; Removing the trade barriers between Nigeria and Ghana

Tobechukwu Okoye MBA 2014
The ECOWAS organization was created to rejuvenate the economic community of West African countries. The acronym translates to mean the Economic Community Of West African States. According to its second chapter of its mission statement, the Ecowas goals includes
-enabling integration and cooperation of west African states

-giving rise to an economic union in West Africa, thus improving the living standards of its peoples

-maintaining and enhancing economic stability

-sustaining relations between member states eventually developing the continent as a whole

In light of these goals and principles stated above the trade barriers that exist between Ghana and Nigeria, member states of the organization, do indicate that the goals are being fully realized. The facts suggest that Nigeria and Ghana make up approximately 61 percent of the population of the member states in the Ecowas community. Moreover, these two countries combined account for 68% of the total Ecowas GDP budget.

Excluding all trade affiliations between both countries, they both have a significant history of international migration between their borders. As of 2009, it is estimated that there are Ghanian emigrants in Nigeria. Inversely,  50,000 Nigerians also occupy Ghana. In terms of cultural similarities, both countries have the same official languages and share similar taste in music, food, attires and luxury goods, -so why are there barriers to trade?

These barriers to trade include informal payments and delays, transit charges and requirements for product registration. in regards to informal payments and delays this refers to the informal payments such as bribes made to the border patrols and the unreasonable lengthy inspection time for imported goods.

Furthermore, the issue of registration of foods and drugs is a requirement by Nigeria. Many Foods and drugs have to be registered under the NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control) provision. This process is very drawn out, tedious and burdensome and lets not forget costly. Ghana happens to be three countries away from Nigeria, thus, the barriers in Nigeria make it triply expensive for Ghanian imports .

From my personal research I feel that it would be in the best interest for both countries to lift the barriers that obstruct their trade as they could both benefit immensely. I also found that the trade barriers that exist between Ghana and Nigeria happens to be a classic example of the retaliatory sanctions on imported goods. However, its unclear which party impeded trade first.

Many Nigeria businessmen in Ghana have complained about obstructions to starting a business. The same could also be said by Ghanian businessmen in Nigeria as well. In light of its objectives Ecowas needs to implement measures to enforce the adherence to free trade laws and see that these trade barriers are lifted. Additionally, the government of both parties could play an instrumental role as well by aiding the Ecowas community.





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