29 officials from 16 French-speaking African countries completed their training at ENSEA Abidjan after eight weeks at the third edition of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Regional Trade Policy Courses, which closed on Friday, April 12, 2019.
The Ecole nationale supérieure de statistique et d’économie appliquée (ENSEA) in Abidjan hosted the third edition of the Regional Trade Policy Courses (CRPC) for members and observers of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the French-speaking African region from 18 February to 12 April 2019. This course is all the more important because it will improve the still weak inter-African exchanges. According to the CBWAS’s 2016 – 2017 reports on WAEMU external trade, the trade rate between member countries fluctuates between 12 and 14% of the Union’s overall trade. Non-tariff measures (NTMs) in the ECOWAS region note that trade between states remains low with 15% of exports to member countries and 5% of imports from these countries.
In addition, 73% of companies in the ECOWAS region face several difficulties. At the continental level, Africa contributes less than 3% of international trade.
Welcoming the choice of Côte d’Ivoire after a selective procedure to host this third session, Henri Ouattara, Chief of Staff of the Ivorian Minister of Planning and Development, welcomed the quality of the training received by these executives who are leaving after a demanding training led by WTO experts.
« After the 2017, 2018 session, Côte d’Ivoire hosted for eight weeks the third session of the WTO Regional Trade Policy Course for French-speaking African countries. The renewal of confidence in our country and in ENSEA is the result of a very satisfactory assessment of the two previous sessions and the commitment of the Ivorian government », said ENSEA Director Dr Hugues Kouadio during the closing ceremony of the third session.
With this edition coming to an end, he said, 12 Ivorian officials from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade were trained in Côte d’Ivoire as part of the CRPC.
« The WTO is a professional partner whose experience in material, logistical and pedagogical organization we will share » Dr. Kouadio continued, inviting the auditors to capitalize on this training for greater efficiency in their respective responsibilities in their different countries.
The economist Mustapha Sekkate, in charge of training at the WTO, on behalf of the Director General of the WTO, Roberto Azevêdo, praised the Ivorian authorities for their availability.
« A well-functioning multilateral trading system requires not only strengthened trade rules that are non-discriminatory and fair, but also an informed analysis by members and observers of the horizons these rules open up and the ability to benefit from them, » Sekkate said.
« We hope that the knowledge you have acquired through this course will not only enable you to work more effectively in your respective administrations, but also to contribute to the active participation of your governments in building on the progresses achieved at previous ministerial conferences held in Bali, Nairobi and Buenos Aires », he continued, hoping that these auditors would become “first-class negotiators and trade advisors” in their countries.
For him, this is essential to further strengthen trade and multilateral rules. Therefore, « I am very pleased that at the end of this two-month programme, 29 officials from 16 countries in the region have been successfully trained, » said Mustapha Sekkate, encouraging all auditors to actively participate and ensure that their respective countries contribute positively to strengthening the multilateral trading system.
On behalf of the auditors, the Malagasy delegate of the class Lalaharisoa Andoniaina Ramanankieferana Andrianary, reassured that after eight weeks of intense training, they have learned the rules and procedures of the WTO. The class delegate also highlighted the mastery of strategies in trade negotiations.
It should be recalled that the auditors for this third session come from Algeria, Angola, Benin, Bukina Faso, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.