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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.


Program Mission Advances Work in Senegal


This quarter, the TFWA Program undertook a mission from November 15 to 21 to support the Direction des Enquetes Douaniers (DED) in its efforts to adopt a risk analysis approach for post-clearance control. The Cellule de Ciblage et de Veille Commerciale (CCVC)—created in 2021 under the DED (with TFWA Program assistance) to support post-control audits and investigations—has helped entrench risk-based methodology at the core of post-clearance control processes.

As a result, risk management is now fully integrated into customs post-clearance controls to support the elaboration of the annual control plan and provide daily technical support to customs officers in charge of audits. Overall, risk management is necessary to detect risky consignments and fraud, protecting both revenues and the security of citizens.

The TFWA Program also supported efforts to foster coordination and the sharing of information between the CCVC and the officers in charge of conducting the audits/post-clearance controls. Nonetheless, systematic feedback to the Cellule regarding inspection results (successful and unsuccessful) still needs to be reinforced to improve the efficiency of the service and the targeting criteria.

The results of DED’s commitments and reforms (in terms of risk management and data analysis for the selectivity of files to be audited) were extremely positive. Penalties settled in the first ten months of 2023, on the basis of official findings reports, increased by +86.6% compared with all penalties settled during 2020, at the start of the reform program. Compared to 2021, when the unit was established, a 33% and 10.1% increase was measured compared with 2022. All this is based on the 2021, 2022, and 2023 control plans drawn up during previous technical assistance sessions.

The Deputy Director of Senegal Customs was very pleased with the results and requested regular updates on the progress of the technical assistance. He also asked about the World Bank’s technical support post-TFWA. The Program is already in conversations with the WB CMU in Senegal to discuss continuation.

NTFC Meets to Advance Trade and Gender Agenda


The TFWA Program continues to provide technical support to NTFCs across the region, ensuring they are equipped to effectively carry out their mandates. This is especially true in terms of raising awareness of the importance of gender mainstreaming in NTFC trade policy work, operations, and representation.

Recently, Senegal’s NTFC held a meeting to discuss and finalize the establishment of the gender and trade working group, or sub-committee. This represents an important step in ensuring continued dialogue, accountability, and monitoring of TF reforms and their impact on women, especially small-scale cross border traders. Once established, Senegal will join Burkina Faso, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, which have all successfully launched trade and gender sub-committees with TFWA Program support.

As a first step, NTFC members have expanded their membership to include women trader NGOs and the Ministry of Women, Family and Gender (MFFG), which will be presiding over the gender and trade sub-working group sessions.

TFWA Program Supports Senegalese NTFC to Implement WTO Commitments

September 2022

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Based on a request from the Direction du Commerce Exterieur, the TFWA Program supported the assessment of Senegal’s implementation of “Category C” commitments of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

Over the course of the evaluation process, the TFWA Program worked closely with the NTFC Secretariat. Interviews were conducted with relevant authorities and a diagnostic report was created to summarize findings, progress, challenges, and next steps (divided by phases and defining potential requirements), per Category C notification. On June 20, the NTFC Secretariat presented the findings of the diagnosis to all NTFC members for discussion and validation. At the same time, the final dates for Category C full implementation were defined (within the stipulated WTO Notification’s deadline).

The TFWA Program also conducted a workshop to strengthen the NTFC members’ project management capacities, including the Committee’s role to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the TFA, ensuring that Senegal complies with notification obligations. The workshop also included a gender training that highlighted gender indicators relevant to the implementation of Category C notifications. Also, NTFC members agreed to establish a Trade and Gender Working Group, a key step toward identifying and addressing specific gendered barriers to trade.

“Thank you very much for the valuable contribution to the implementation of trade facilitation measures at the national level.” - Ansou Souba Badji, Director of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Trade and SMEs.image5 23

The TFWA Program partners with several key agencies and authorities in Senegal to advance the WTO TFA agenda:

  • At the request of The Foreign Trade Directorate, the TFWA Program joined the technical committee created to enhance Senegal’s Trade Information Portal (Art. 1.2 and 1.3);
  • The TFWA Program continues to work closely with Customs to support the adoption of a risk management approach after clearance (Art. 7.5) and to transition from a Preferred Partner Program (Programme de Partenariat Privilégié) to a complete Authorized Economic Operator program (Art. 7.7).

TFWA Program Supports Customs Risk Management in Senegal

September 2022

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Senegal, like other developing economies, has taken steps to modernize and digitalize its Customs administration . With technical assistance (TA) from the TFWA Program, Senegalese Customs continues to modernize its processes and procedures by integrating risk management (RM) and data analysis into its operations to strengthen Customs controls. In the context of this approach, the Customs Investigation Department (DED) has successfully implemented several key activities:

Established a targeting and business intelligence unit (cellule de ciblage et de veille commerciale, or CCVC) to support post control audits and investigations. The CCVC is responsibilities include : exploiting data and providing information on the behavior of commercial operations; identifying and monitoring importer profiles and high-risk operations; listing the main importers and products that contribute to revenue; and identifying cases of abnormal Customs values and erratic or inconsistent variations.

Effectively utilize the results from the post-clearance control plan 2021/22. The control plan was founded on a risk map that relied on statistical analysis based on reconciliations and data cross-referencing, including but not limited to: export data from partner countries, known as mirror data; DED’s own control objectives; and the structure of importers, such as formal and informal operators or members of the Programme de Partenariat Privilégie (PPP).

Hosted a capacity building workshop for the CCVC on the methodology developed to define RM after the clearance control plan 2021/22 and foster coordination and sharing of information to enable the constant definition of risk criteria.

Held discussions between the DED and the Direction des Systèmes d'Information des Douanes (DSID) on building an IT application that supports automatization for post-clearance risk analysis.

The results of DED’s commitments and reforms (in terms of risk management and data analysis for the selectivity of files to be controlled) were extremely positive: the duties and taxes, excluding suspended VAT, based on contentious cases carried out on official reports and the penalties liquidated in 2021 based on official statements of offense increased substantially by percentage and by amount in 2021 compared to 2020.

“On behalf of the Customs authorities at the highest level (DG and Coordinator), the Director of Investigations, and all the DRED collaborators, [we would like] to express to the World Bank our recognition and our gratitude for the quality of the partnership with the Customs administration, whose mission, which has just ended, is a perfect illustration of this.” - Lt. Col. Amadou BA DIATTA, DED’s Deputy Director and FP to TFWA on DED’s activities

In the coming months, the TFWA Program will support Customs on several key planned activities:

  • Consolidate the use of a risk-based targeting methodology by developing and implementing the 2022-23 control plan;
  • Support the automatization of the post-clearance audit selectivity process by developing and deploying an IT application; and
  • Conduct required technical workshops.

Socialization Workshop Focuses on Gender Assessment and SSCBT Survey

March 2022

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In Senegal, the TFWA Program hosted a workshop to share results of a survey conducted on small-scale cross-border traders (SSCBTs). At the same time, the workshops sensitized the results of the TFWA Program Gender Assessment Report, which shows that a large proportion of small-scale operators at border crossings in West Africa tend to be women, partly because they are often active in the distribution of food and smaller consumer goods, which can dominate SSCBT. 

The workshop explored constraints facing SSCBTs across the TFWA Program’s priority trade corridors. These include higher trade costs, more pervasive corruption, cumbersome clearance procedures, abuse and harassment, and limited access to finance. To mitigate these barriers and facilitate cross-border trade, the report outlined key actions to increase border transparency, streamline, and/or decentralize existing procedures and requirements, improve financial inclusion, and take steps to create a safe, transparent, and equitable environment at border crossings. 

The report also looked at how border officials and service providers operate, while simultaneously exploring their views on how to improve trade. Finally, workshop participants discussed key findings from the TFWA Program Gender Assessment Report to get a better understanding of the challenges faced by women, to identify the institutional needs and priorities of key program stakeholders, and to review current initiatives in the region on the trade and gender front. 

To address the gender insensitivity of existing trade policies and procedures, the TFWA Program provides an awareness campaign and training to mainstream gender issues into trade facilitation discussions. The program also supports the development of policy and procedures to support small-scale traders—including women—doing businesses across borders.

Progress Review Assesses TFWA Program Activities in Senegal

January 2022

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On January 12, members of the Sub-committee for Strategic Management of the Main Corridors of Senegal met with other stakeholders from the public and private sectors in Dakar. Participants aimed to review, among other things, the progress of key activities included in the action plan adopted in October 2019. Despite setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, participants commended the smooth and successful execution of key TFWA Program activities and components: 

Capacity Building of Actors 

  • Development of the collection of texts and travel documents on the Dakar-Bamako Corridor with a restitution workshop on June 16, 2021.
  • Capacity building activity for transport actors on loading techniques (intended for loading platforms of more than 200,000 tonnes and transport players).

SIGMAT Implementation 

  • Deployment of SIGMAT across the national territory.
  • Training of trainers at the Customs School for Senegalese Customs Officers, auxiliaries, handlers, licensed customs brokers,  defense and security forces, and the private sector. 

The popularization of the tool, which is another very important element of SIGMAT’s implementation, has been challenging, despite the recruitment of a communications agency and the validation of communications materials. Other key components, such as operationalization, remain dependent on the improvement of the political situation between Mali and Senegal, which would enable the signing of regulatory acts and the materialization of the interconnection through the exchange of information between the two customs. 

At the end of the meeting, participants agreed to form a working group with relevant stakeholders to prepare and initiate the implementation process of awareness activities along the corridor, review the initial dates, and update the terms of reference.

TFWA Program Empowers CSOs/NGOs to Influence Regional Integration Policies

November 2021


In Senegal, the TFWA Program hosted a three-day workshop to build the capacity of selected civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The workshop targeted organizations that are active in the trade space with the goal of highlighting and advocating for relevant and contemporary issues related to trade facilitation. Findings from a recent study by TFWA Program show that the majority of CSOs/NGOs are connected to networks or federations working at regional and/or international levels. This provides an opportunity for civil society actors to participate in advocacy campaigns and influence national and regional policies. CSOs/NGOs have experience monitoring ECOWAS trade policies and trade agreements and—through active regional participation—can help push the trade and trade facilitation agendas across the region. The TFWA Program aims to foster inclusive advocacy, data, and information dissemination along with multi-stakeholder dialogues.

In his opening address, Dr. Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, Director of the African Centre for Trade, Integration and Development at ENDA-CACID, highlighted the critical role CSOs play in the development and integration processes in the ECOWAS region. He also highlighted the many skills they need to implement advocacy that effectively influences ECOWAS protocols on trade and free movement. Col. Samba Souna Fall of the Senegal National Committee on Trade Facilitation and Adja Coumba Sall Fall from the ECOWAS National Office expressed the importance of strategic engagement by non-state actors in regional trade and integration programmes.

Maiko Miyake, TFWA Program Manager, assured participants of the TFWA Program’s commitment to strengthening civil society’s advocacy efforts. The TFWA Program will continue to support NGOs and CSOs with a focus on regional coordination and empowerment.

TFWA Program Rolls Out SSCBT Interviews for Alternative Credit Scoring

March 2021

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img 20210302 wa0002Traders’ associations across Nigeria and Senegal were interviewed to better profile Small-Scale-Cross-Border Traders (SSBCTs) and to better understanding the alternative data they generate to access financial products and services. These interviews—initially piloted in two countries and conducted via a consulting firm—are part of the second phase of the TFWA Program’s credit-scoring study launched to improve SSCBT access to finance through tailored credit scoring mechanisms.

SSCBTs still face significant challenges in accessing capital for their businesses and often remain unbanked, unable to obtain credit scoring, and with low-to-no financial inclusion opportunities. These factors confirm the relevance of exploring alternative means of credit scoring and aim to create the foundational research needed to encourage micro-finance institutions to offer financial products to SSCBTs. To date, the consulting firm has held several consultations with local traders’ associations with the goal of contrasting data from previous mapping exercises with alternative data usage metrics.

Additional SSCBTs from Senegal and Nigeria will be interviewed and constituted in panels before the program produces a Credit Reporting Framework. Based on these interviews, a Regional Alternative Data Landscaping Report will also be published.

Dakar-Bamako logistics strategy presented

November 2020

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Following the inaugural meeting of the National Monitoring Committee (NAC) in February, The TFWA Program convened a workshop with Senegalese and Malian project partners to present the Dakar-Bamako Logistics Strategy. The strategy used a data-driven approach to reveal the underlying flow and pattern of goods along this important trade corridor. Additionally, the strategy outlined how infrastructure could be developed to support and improve trade flow. In fact, previous TFWA Program diagnostics, such as the Corridor Assessment Report and the Small-Scale Cross-Border Trader Survey, had highlighted how longer transit times along corridors greatly affect trade facilitation and economic opportunities.

Aware of the key regional and national issues at stake with improved infrastructure, both Mali and Senegal were receptive to the TFWA Program’s presentation and findings. As a result, these markets could explore reopening discussions on the location of the dry port. This strategy, if jointly applied, could enable more targeted and cohesive infrastructural planning and reforms—progress in line with the TFWA Program’s second component, which stives to promote the efficient and improved movement of goods along selected corridors.

Bilateral Meeting Brings Together Key Stakeholders from Mali and Senegal

February 2020

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From February 17 to 20, the TFWA Program hosted a successful bilateral meeting between IT experts from Senegalese and Malian customs to advance activities required for the Interconnection of their IT systems (SIGMAT-GAINDE). Held in Dakar, representatives from the Senegal and Mali Management Committee of the Dakar-Bamako Corridor participated in the four-day session, as did Senegal’s Customs Director General. Representatives from the Chambers of Commerce from both Mali and Senegal were also invited to attend, though only one representative from Mali came to the meetings.

Opening ceremonyBoth customs IT teams have been proactively supporting implementation, using a chronogram of activities to guide their work. During the meeting, attendees discussed these activities in an effort to advance the interconnection agenda. The meeting also provided an opportunity to show that GIZ and the World Bank are working jointly to implement this project.

Looking forward, GIZ and the World Bank will continue to work together to ensure proper support under the TFWA Program umbrella. As next steps, based on their chronograms, customs in both countries need to provide formation, communication, and sensitization efforts to field staff. Per the current situation, the customs agencies are trying to deliver these efforts virtually. Additionally, GIZ is responsible for delivering the equipment required in support of this effort.

Dakar-Bamako Corridor Project Action Plan Moves Forward with TFWA Program Support

February 2020

Untitled3On February 7, the first meeting of the National Monitoring Committee for the ‘Improving the Competitiveness of the Dakar-Bamako Corridor Project’—a project that falls within the framework of the TFWA Program—took place. The meeting focused on reviewing and validating the joint committee's plan of action while also planning priority activities arising from the plan.

A number of influential stakeholders attended the meeting, including representatives from the Ministry of Investment Promotion Private, Small and Medium Enterprises, and National Entrepreneurship. The meeting provided an opportunity for attendees to outline deadlines for each activity to be implemented. As a result of this meeting, some of the activities listed in the work plan were reformulated, paving a clear path for implementation. Additionally, meeting participants agreed to insert a new activity—relating to the ECOWAS brown map—into the work plan. Meeting attendees agreed that the TFWA Program team would serve as the plan’s next reviewer, with a view to inserting activities from its Dakar-Bamako corridor action plan.