West Africa Trade Facilitation (TFWA)

Speeches Shim

The TFWA program seeks to improve the free and efficient movement of goods in the region and internationally by reducing the time and cost of trade borne by the private sector in West Africa. It will also strengthen regional trading networks’ ability to take advantage of these improvements.


As West Africa's population booms and its economy continue to expand, the opportunities for businesses to trade across the region are also increasing. However, the region’s trade corridors are laden with administrative barriers such as cumbersome border and customs clearance processes, as well as formal and informal checkpoints and roadblocks that keep trucks stationary for extended periods of time. These constraints are serious impediments to the region’s economic growth and development. Costs incurred due to delays prevent businesses from expanding, and slow down the implementation of trade facilitation related policies like the trade facilitation agreement (TFA), the adoption and implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) customs code, and the enforcement of the existing regional measures (like a common external tariff and the ECOWAS trade liberalization scheme that are not yet fully enforced). This hampers businesses' abilities to create jobs and thereby reduce poverty.


In response to these challenges, USAID/West Africa partnered with ECOWAS, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the European Commission, the World Bank Germany (GIZ), and the Netherlands to develop the Trade Facilitation West Africa (TFWA) program. Since 2018, the TFWA program has been advancing ECOWAS’s regional agenda to support the free movement of goods, support countries to implement the world trade organization trade facilitation agreement, decrease the time and cost of goods to move along key regional corridors, and increase engagement of the private sector and civil society in trade facilitation reforms with a particular focus on women and small-scale traders.


  • Regional trade facilitation policies and instruments developed.
  • Trade facilitation monitoring and implementation capacities improved.
  • ECOWAS Common External Tariff implemented.
  • ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) improved, and ECOWAS Customs Code implemented.
  • World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement implemented.
  • Customs and border regulations and procedures simplified along priority corridors.
  • Customs connectivity established, and regional transit improved along priority corridors.
  • Border crossing for small-scale traders, including women, made more efficient, reducing costs and delays.
  • Private sector and civil society’s role in regional and national trade facilitation dialogues strengthened.
  • Transport and logistics professionalized, increasing efficiency and reducing costs.

Program Information

Life of Program: Sept 2018 - June 2023

Total USAID funding: $75 million

Geographic Focus: Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Niger

Implementing partners: WB Group & GIZ

Steering Committee Chaired by: ECOWAS & UEMOA

Thursday, September 23, 2021 - 6:30am

Last updated: October 15, 2021