Monrovia: The first phase of a European Union-funded cross-border project that seeks to set up a regional customs union and a common market within the Ecowas has been launched. Liberia’s Vice-President Joseph Nyuma Boakai launched the six-month project at the Conference Hall of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce in Monrovia recently. The project that will be piloted by the Liberia-based Better Future Foundation, will entail a seminar targeting 550 cross-border and inter-county market women and 300 state agents.
The cross border agents to be trained include state law enforcement officers including seaport and city police, immigration, customs, commerce inspectors, anti-drug agents, and forest rangers. From Liberia, participants will be drawn from seven counties including Lofa, Nimba, Maryland, Grand Gedeh, Bomi, Bong, Rivercess, Grand Bassa and Grand Cape Mount, while the rest will come from mostly English-speaking West Africa, a statement by the Foundation said.
Before the launch of the project, a delegation of Ecowas trade commission from Abuja had concluded an assessment visit to Liberia. The second six-month phase is expected to begin immediately after the first is concluded and a global impact assessment made thereafter. Intra-trade within the region and on the continental level is quite low and could count for less than 10 per cent of overall trade.