: A conference room with tables arranged in a U-shape. People sitting at tables with computers, watching a man give a presentation.

Burkina Faso businesses learn to export in free trade area

6 October 2023
ITC News

A workshop in Ouagadougou showed businesses how to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). A two-day ‘training-of-trainers’ component prepared local trainers to deliver the workshop themselves in the future.

Held from 18 to 21 September 2023, the workshop brought small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) together using an innovative digital workshopping methodology. Master trainer Ilyas Choubaili, a consultant with the International Trade Centre (ITC), conducted the training-of-trainer component and oversaw the workshop in person.

This workshop marks the latest expansion of the How to Export with the AfCFTA training programme, developed by ITC’s SME Trade Academy in partnership with Afreximbank. The workshop uses digitization, interactivity and connectivity to scale training delivery while maintaining a uniform and verifiable level of quality across eight half-day sessions.

The workshop had a dual purpose: to provide practical training for SMEs, and to prepare local trainers to run the sessions themselves. The goal is to ensure the long-term sustainability of ITC’s intervention in the country.

‘Training-of-trainer’ component

The first two days consisted of a ‘training-of-trainers’ component. In total, 23 members of several partner institutions – including Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Industrial Development, Trade, Crafts and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises – took part.

Participants received training content and supporting materials, which included digital presentations, learner workbooks, trainer guides, as well as the online workshop page on the AfCFTA Online Training Platform. The participants were trained on workshop facilitation methods, workshop planning, and how to report their training interventions. They received all the tools necessary to conduct their own workshops in the future, without the need for a physical ITC presence in the country.

Conducting the first workshop for enterprises

The third and fourth days of the workshop were dedicated to SMEs, giving the new trainers a chance to deliver the content with direct ITC support. Thirteen representatives from local SMEs participated and learned how to:

  • Determine their own company’s level of export readiness
  • Identify market opportunities for their product in Africa, keeping in mind the context of the AfCFTA
  • Select how to enter their target market
  • Use the various documents required to make an export shipment
  • Navigate the logistics of shipping products from Burkina Faso to the rest of Africa
  • Choose from available options to finance their export activities.

Further support for new trainers

Following the success of this workshop, the Ministry of Industrial Development, Trade, Crafts and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises of Burkina Faso will continue to work with the new trainers to deliver additional editions of the training programme across the country.  ITC’s SME Trade Academy will continue its engagement with the Ministry, including helping participants access training resources and assisting trainers with any unresolved questions or challenges they may have.

Salifou Nikiema, a representative from one of the SMEs, said the workshop was very useful. ‘We received new information about exporting. The workshop equipped us well to face our export challenges,’ said Nikiema.

One of the new trainers, Zana Issouf Barro, says that the content of the workshops was highly technical and practical.

‘It enables the trainer to know what to say, when and how to get the listener to feel part of what's going on and what he's talking about,’ Barro said. ‘It arouses the participant's curiosity and encourages him or her to try to understand anything that seems unclear in terms of comprehension.’

A group of 22 people stand together outside a grey building.
21 September 2023, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Workshop participants gathered outside the workshop venue after an informative day.
Photo by ITC

About the How to Export with the AfCFTA training programme

The How to Export with the AfCFTA training programme is the result of a partnership between ITC and Afreximbank. It combines both online and offline elements to teach current and prospective African exporters the fundamentals of intra-African trade, as well as explore the opportunities resulting from the AfCFTA.

About ITC’s SME Trade Academy

The SME Trade Academy is ITC’s learning solutions team. Through its flagship online platform, the Academy offers over 100 free online courses on a wide variety of trade-related topics in French, English, Spanish and Arabic, and boasts over 100,000 enrolments per year from over 190 countries. In addition, it provides a variety of turnkey learning solutions in support of ITC’s trade related technical assistance projects. These range from fully online products, such as e-learning courses, virtual learning spaces and virtual workshops, to technologically-enabled in-person trainings, such as digital and digitally-supported workshops, to everything in between.

About One Trade Africa

One Trade Africa works to enable, empower and enhance African MSMEs, women and youth entrepreneurs to access new transformative business opportunities created by the AfCFTA. The programme embraces a three-pronged delivery model which supports African MSMEs to compete, connect and change at the enterprise, business ecosystem and policy levels. ITC provides African MSMEs with training, advice and coaching to build capacities, connect to new and more lucrative markets, and create jobs.