“West Africa's regional integration is unfortunately limited by inadequate infrastructure and burdensome regulatory procedures. There must be a regional commitment to address these constraints. Without that commitment we will not move forward”, said DDG Rugwabiza.

In terms of economic development, West Africa is faced with a number of challenges. It needs to broaden its exports to a wider range of products, rather than focussing on a few commodities. Power generation, with little network coverage and low reliability is also hampering the industry.

Aid for Trade can help West Africa face these challenges. “The global economic downturn has aggravated many of the constraints the region faces and has emphasized the urgency of addressing these needs. Aid for Trade needs to promote strategies stimulating recovery” declared DDG Rugwabiza. “One challenge to advancing Aid for Trade at a regional level is the need for clear priorities and coordinated interventions”, she added and called on West African countries to forge an Aid for Trade partnership. Putting together regional programmes is a difficult task but there are many examples of regional co-operation in Asia, South America and South Africa where the benefits have been multiple.

Exports and trade can be the driving force behind economic growth. This is why building trade capacity is so important. But Aid for Trade is just one component of a global recovery formula. The conclusion of the Doha negotiations would be an enormous stimulus package for the regional and global economy.

Some background on Aid for Trade

  • December 2005: The Aid for Trade initiative launched at the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference.

  • September 2007: African Review of Aid for Trade

  • November 2007: First Global Review of Aid for Trade

  • July 2009: Second Global Review of Aid for Trade

  • Despite the more challenging global economic environment, donors have reaffirmed commitments to respect their Aid for Trade funding commitments, or even to increase them.

Key Aid for Trade figures (OECD source)

  • The flow of Aid for Trade resources has increased by 10% per year since 2005.

  • The global financial envelope for Aid for Trade reached US$ 25.4 billion in 2007. This figure was US$4.3 billion higher than in 2005.

  • Of this additional US$4.3 billion, some US$ 2.9 billion went to Aid for Trade in Africa.

  • Total Aid for Trade to Africa reached US$ 9.5 billion in 2007 and West Africa's share was about US$ 2.7 billion. #