Borderless Alliance

Mandate:

Improve regional integration and eliminate barriers to trade and transport in West Africa using evidence-based advocacy.

Geographic Scope:

West African borders, ports, and trade corridors

Key Partners:

  • USAID
  • Economic Community Of West African States  (ECOWAS)
  • West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA)
  • African Development Bank
  • World Bank
  • Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS)
  • Abidjan - Lagos Corridor Organization
  • Burkina Shippers’ Council
  • Ghana Shippers' Authority
  • Private sector companies

Description:

Transport costs in West Africa are among the highest in the world, translating into lower prices for the goods of farmers and other producers, and making imports more expensive. Major causes of high transport costs include bribery, administrative delays, arbitrary check-points, high taxes, inefficient trade procedures, and poor infrastructure.

Established in September 2011, the Borderless Alliance (BA) represents a private sector-led coalition to increase trade in West Africa and foster change by exposing trade inefficiencies throughout the region. To address the issues of sustainability and effectiveness, BA has evolved from an advocacy campaign into the region’s leading advocacy platform. From an initial group of six, BA now enjoys more than 50 dues-paying members from the private sector, across West Africa. Its membership base draws from a broad range of organizations involved in the various supply chains including port authorities, freight forwarders, logistics operators, manufacturers, traders and farmers. The BA’s premise is that by working together, businesses and traders can advocate effectively for change.

Key Objectives:

Through evidence-based advocacy activities that leverage data collected from its many partners, the Alliance provides a vehicle for the private sector to voice its concerns, collaborate with decision makers on finding solutions to common problems, and encourage decision makers to take corrective action. This advocacy work allows the BA to improve trade facilitation by resolving bottlenecks, increasing trade flows and reducing their costs throughout West Africa.  The BA helps to monitor corridors in eight countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

Results:

Starting in 2011, in conjunction with the USAID West Africa Trade Hub, the BA began establishing Border Information Centers (BICs) at border posts along highly-trafficked trade corridors in the region.  Currently, six BICs are operating, including the first one built on the Ghana-Togo border and the newest at the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire border. The BICs advise public and private stakeholders on the regional agreements designed to streamline rules and procedures, as well as practical measures for easing congestion through organizational and infrastructural improvements. In the most recent quarter, average clearance times at Borders where BICs operate decreased by 27%. 

Last updated: April 09, 2014

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