West African business leaders meet in conference room
Group of West African business leaders pose inside investment promotion booth

ECOWAS Investment Forum shows opportunities in West Africa

19 abril 2024
ITC News

The forum gathered leaders in government, finance and business from across the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). They unpacked ways that investment can improve farming and food security across West Africa.

The ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) hosted the event in Lome, Togo, from 4 to 5 April.

Togo Prime Minister Victoire Tomegah Dogbé opened the forum, held under the theme ‘Transforming ECOWAS Communities in a Challenging Environment’.

She emphasized the need for a wide range of investment across human capital, energy, the digital economy, and infrastructure.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), spoke by video about how regional integration can strengthen investments.

Simon Tiemtore, President of Vista Group Holding, and Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) stressed the importance of collaborative efforts and innovative strategies to advance investment priorities.

Discussions during the forum addressed crucial topics such as food security, fortifying agricultural supply chains, and enhancing security in West Africa.

Panellists proposed strategies for tackling challenges in agriculture, underscoring the significance of cooperation and innovation for sustainable development.

They underscored major challenges around access to finance, which seriously affects small businesses, particularly for agribusinesses and young entrepreneurs. Among the solutions discussed were ways development finance institutions such as EBID could make facilitate access to loans.

This is one of the issues that the International Trade Centre (ITC) addresses with the ECOWAS Commission through the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP).

WACOMP facilitated the participation of nine investment promotion agencies from West Africa. These agencies showcased investment projects in their countries. The delegates engaged with business leaders on investments in critical areas such as agriculture, infrastructure development, support to small businesses, energy and climate change.

Participants deliberated on concrete projects and investment opportunities, with a focus on fostering employment, financing infrastructure, and embracing climate-resilient energy solutions. Along with  ITC and the ECOWAS Commission, the delegation met with EBID management on how to strengthen collaboration to support the inflow of investment in the region.  

About the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP)

WACOMP is financed by the European Union under the 11th European Development Fund. The programme aims to strengthen the competitiveness of West African countries and enhance their integration into the regional and international trading system. ITC implements the programme in cooperation with UNIDO and under the overall guidance of the ECOWAS Commission. The overall objective of the programme is 'to strengthen the competitiveness of West Africa through an enhanced level of production, transformation and export capacities of the private sector in line with regional and national industrial and MSME strategies'.