Mr David Adulugba, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), said in Abuja on Tuesday that more than 300 tonnes of various products from Nigeria were traded among African countries informally.
Adulugba announced this at a one-day sensitisation seminar organised by the NEPC in collaboration with the Nigerian-Malian Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines, Agriculture and Tourism (NAMACCIMAT).
He, however, explained that Africa depended more on imports from other continents than what were exchanged among the African states. â€œAlthough, emphasis on cross-border trade is promoted in the continent, effective implementation with a view to achieving the much needed economic integration among member states in the region is regrettably at its lowest ebb.
â€œThe informal businesses existing between Nigeria and their ECOWAS counterparts engaged in one form or the other are more than 300 tonnes of various products weekly. West Africa consumes about 50 per cent of the Made-in-Nigeria goods.
For example, Mali and Burkina Faso import these goods informally,â€ Adulugba said.He noted that in spite of this encouraging trend, though informal, intra-regional trade among West African countries was lower, compared to their volume of trade with Europe and America. The theme of the seminar was: â€œECOWAS Market: The Malian experienceâ€.
Adulugba said it was aimed at promoting the non-oil export sector, with a view to maximising the huge benefits in trade and commercial activities within the West African sub-region. The executive secretary said in spite of efforts by the ECOWAS to encourage trade among member countries, some obstacles continued to pose serious challenges toward actualising its objectives and goals.
Adulugba said the challenges included lack of access to timely information on prices and market opportunities, inadequate business skills of producers and traders to respond to production and market opportunities.
Others, he said, were the unfavorable trade environment that included tariff and non-tariff barriers such as harassment at the national borders. Chief Michael Awunor, the President, NAMACCIMAT, said the concept of Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) was aimed at encouraging and boosting the economy and increasing the living standards of the people in African countries.
Awunor called on African countries to put all hands on deck for greater results in the effort to develop the economy of the continent. He said it was in realisation of the measure that NEPC continued to partner with many bilateral and multilateral chambers with a view to promoting and developing non-oil exports.