UNCTAD, in collaboration the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) secretariat, organized a special event on transit trade and trade facilitation-related problems facing LDCs in West African region. UNCTAD has completed the updating of EIF-funded Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) of two transit countries in West Africa namely, the Gambia and Senegal, and is currently updating the DTISs of two other landlocked countries in the region namely, Mali and Niger. Transit trade and trade facilitation-related issues feature prominently as major challenges to international trade in the two transit countries. Preliminary analysis shows that similar challenges will also be identified as critical obstacles to the international trade of Mali and Niger. Participants from Burkina Faso were also invited because of the close trade link with the other countries in the region and as user of transit route. The experiences of these five countries helped the EIF Board members to understand better whether the EIF programme has a role to play in the implementation of trade facilitation agreement.
The representatives of the five countries highlighted that transit trade continues to be a major challenge and a barrier to the promotion of international trade, especially for the landlocked countries in the region. The poor implementation of the existing Interstate Road Transport Convention signed by the members of the Economic Community of West African States seems to be a key problem to them.