Scoping study: Improving the perspective for regional trade and investment in West Africa

Scoping study: Improving the perspective for regional trade and investment in West Africa: the key to food security, economic development and stability in the region

Harbour of LoméThe harbour of Lomé (Togo), a major regional gateway for trade in West Africa Photo: Transafrica Togo (via Flickr)

Initiated by The Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and funded by the Food & Business Knowledge Platform, the overall objective of this scoping study was to contribute to a more contextualized comprehensive picture of the Dutch government's ongoing cooperation with West Africa and the perspective in terms of policy options for strengthening its effectiveness and coherence by giving more emphasis to the promotion of intraregional trade and investment.

The scoping study was conducted by a consortium of knowledge institutes comprised of the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL), LEI Wageningen UR and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM).

The study has now been finalized and has generated a number of written outputs. The main outcome is an extensive scoping report that primarily takes stock of existing knowledge and experiences with regard to regional trade and investment in West Africa by building on a number of inventories. Examples include an inventory of Dutch (policy) initiatives in West Africa as well as by other development partners and regional institutions and an inventory of policy options and assessment of possible effects. These inventories are complemented with a set of (policy) recommendations drawn up for The Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

Derived from this scoping report, the ASCL has developed a policy brief (8-pager) that captures its key findings and conclusions as well as presents the (policy) recommendations as formulated in the report. Please note that this policy brief is available in both English and French.

Additionally, the scoping study has also resulted in an annotated bibliography based on an inventory of literature on regional trade and investment in West Africa, prepared by the ASCL Library, Documentation and Information Department.

Finally, also within the framework of this scoping study, ECDPM has published a Discussion Paper titled “Overview of trade and barriers to trade in West Africa: Insights in political economy dynamics, with particular focus on agricultural and food trade”. The paper gives a general overview of trade figures and dynamics in West Africa with a focus on agricultural and food products as well as points to some of the overarching actors and factors that shape these regional trade flows at a broad level, in order to inform relevant stakeholders and guide more in-depth policy research.

NB. In the early phase of the scoping study, the consortium organized a conference in support of the study’s objective by bringing together a broad range of professionals and experts engaged in research, policy and interventions targeting West Africa, regional integration & trade and food security. The findings and insights gathered at this event are presented in the scoping conference report

More information:
Ton Dietz:
Paul Lange: