Small-scale cross-border traders (SSCBTs) are key economic actors in West Africa. Learn more about our work to understand existing constraints affecting SSCBTs especially women and design interventions to respond to identified constraints and ultimately make trade easier, cheaper, and safer.
NEWS & EVENTS
ECOWAS Empowers SSCBTs on Rights and Obligations in Ghana
In October, the ECOWAS Commission, with technical assistance from the TFWA Program, held training sessions for traders as part of the the ECOWAS Sensitization and Awareness Campaign Caravan. The training was delivered along the Tema-Ouagadougou Corridor for Tema, Kumasi, Techiman, and Bolgatanga traders. The hybrid sessions were held virtually from October 9 to 23 and in-person from October 16 to 18.
The SSCBT Awareness training focused on improving trader awareness of trader rights and obligations in the context of cross-border trade. The objective was to build trust and improve communication with authorities, ultimately making trade safer, faster, and cheaper for SSCBTs.
Officials from the Ghana Police Service (GPS), Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ghana Revenue Authority-Customs Division, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) actively participated in the training sessions. In Techiman, the session took place in the presence of the Queen Mother (of the land of Techiman), a well-regarded royal figure in the community.
The training was an interactive event comprising of several activities, exercises, and role play. This allowed participants to simulate real-life scenarios of interaction
between traders and public officials at the borders, highlighting some of the obstacles faced by women traders, including lengthy customs procedures, limited knowledge of border-crossing rules and procedures, and harassment. Participants exchanged experiences (while travelling for business, crossing borders, or shipping goods) and were encouraged to ask questions and participate in discussions with key authorities at the event. Many expressed their appreciation, commended the quality of the training, and requested more, similar training in the future.
In addition to the trainings, the caravan comprised market visits to interact with traders and a meeting with customs officers at Paga border (between Ghana and Burkina Faso).
With the successful completion of the SSCBT awareness training in Togo and now in Ghana, the TFWA Program will continue its support to empower women with the skills/knowledge to trade easier and safer across borders.
TFWA Program Supports Ghana NTFC in Advancing Trade and Gender Agenda
On November 5, with support from the TFWA Program, Ghana’s National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) launched a trade and gender sub-committee. This newly formed committee—the first of its kind in Ghana—will focus on mainstreaming gender into the committee’s membership, operations, and trade policy work.
Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei, presided over the launch, calling on NTFC members to develop gender-responsive initiatives to address the negative impacts of current trade policies. Citing findings from the TFWA Program’s Small-Scale Cross-Border Trade Survey and Gender Assessment Report, the Deputy Minister reminded participants that women traders face a disproportionate number
of challenges—they typically earn less, have less knowledge of trade regulations, and are at higher risk of security threats. Based on the TFWA Program’s assessment, she also highlighted the lack of diversity in the Ghanaian NTFC, noting that 73 percent of members
are male. While NTFC members have a general understanding of gender as a concept, the sub-committee is an important step toward addressing gender imbalances in the analysis, formulation, and implementation of trade facilitation measures.
Speaking at the launch, TFWA Program focal point Alicia Stephens stated that the sub-committee is expected to create a space to advocate for women traders at the national level. The sub-committee will also strengthen the NTFC’s gender institutional capacity
and contribute to improving the benefits of trade agreements for all stakeholders, including women. Ms. Stephens pledged that the TFWA Program will continue supporting Ghana’s NTFC and its newly established trade and gender sub-committee through an upcoming gender training, which will be held within the broader Inclusive Project Management capacity-building initiative that the TFWA Program offers NTFCs across West Africa.
During this first meeting, sub-committee members agreed to identify all non-tariff barriers specifically affecting women traders. Ultimately, members will propose recommendations to be adopted by Ghanaian customs. The group also agreed to identify several men who will serve as champions of gender issues within Ghana’s trade facilitation initiatives.
Ghana is the third country to establish an NTFC gender sub-committee with TFWA Program support. The program has already successfully launched trade and gender sub-committees in Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire. Following the latest successful launch in Ghana, the TFWA Program will continue supporting NTFCs and advancing the trade and gender agenda across the region.