The chairman of the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Mr Cheik Hadjibou Soumaré, on Friday bemoaned the low level of intra-regional trade saying this is unhealthy for the economies of countries in the union.
“The liberalization of intra-regional trade can be profitable for WAEMU countries by making them less vulnerable, by enabling them to diversify their economies, improve their competitiveness and create jobs,” he said.
Speaking in Dakar on Thursday at a conference organised by the Senegalese Union of Customs Officers and Inspectors (AIOD), Mr Soumaré said intra-regional trade, which was estimated at 12% between 1994 and 2014, was “weak” compared with a healthy 64% of intra-European trade.
He said the weakness was due to the lack of competitiveness linked to costs, the structural weakness of physical infrastructure and the absence of complementarity between the economies, which is an obstacle to free movement of goods in member countries.
Mr Soumaré suggested that the goods produced in the sub-region must exported normally with a certificate of origin. In addition, the goods must transit through check points established in the sub-region, which had been reduced to two in each country.