Tracking Implementation of Regional Trade Policies and Regulations in West Africa
AKADEMIYA2063 has been supporting the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with developing and implementing a scorecard for monitoring and reporting on the effectiveness of regional trade policies and regulations aimed at boosting intraregional trade in West Africa. The scorecard, aptly named the ECOWAS Agriculture Trade and Market Scorecard (EATM-S) is designed to serve as an integrated results framework for various regional initiatives geared to promote regional trade, including the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS), the ECOWAS Common Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. The scorecard has been developed as part of the World Bank-funded Food Systems Resilience Program (FSRP) in West and Central Africa. The operationalization of the scorecard across the 15 ECOWAS countries, plus Chad and Mauritania, will be gradual and will start with Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Togo and Chad, seven countries that are part of the first phase of the implementation of FSRP.
The EATM-S has been designed as an accountability mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the performance of West African countries in implementing their policy and regulatory commitments related to agrifood trade and markets. The scorecard is composed of the following components:
- A results framework that links trade and markets data at the input, output and outcome levels. Inputs include information on the implementation of trade policies and regulations; outputs include data on trade documents, time to trade and costs of trade within the region; while outcomes include trade volumes, values and diversification.
- A monitoring plan, which documents data sources, data collection protocols, data reporting template, frequency of data collection, scoring and benchmarking, baseline and reference values, assumptions and risks associated with indicators and data.
- A communications and dissemination plan to build awareness and drive utilization of the scorecard.
- An accountability and peer learning platform that facilitates learning and experience sharing based on scorecard findings for accountability and actions.
To operationalize the scorecard, AKADEMIYA2063 is supporting the following activities at the country and regional levels.
Establishment of scorecard teams
The first activity involves setting up scorecard implementation teams. At the regional and national level, two types of teams will be set up: a large and inclusive working group and a restricted technical team. Different stakeholders, working to promote regional trade in agricultural products and inputs, will be identified and invited to join the regional and national EATM-S working groups. The working group will coordinate all EATM-S activities, prepare an annual work plan and an implementation budget. The restricted technical team, composed of at least an expert in regional trade, a communications expert and survey enumerators, will be responsible for data collection and analysis, and communications and advocacy documents writing. AKADEMIYA2063 will work with ECOWAS and individual countries to help ensure regional and country scorecard teams are inclusive of all relevant public and private stakeholders.
Development of scorecard tools
The EATM-S methodology will be translated into a user-friendly online toolkit for use by the regional and national EATM-S teams. A comprehensive questionnaire and electronic data collection tool will be developed to facilitate data collection. An electronic platform will be deployed to host the collected data and to generate country scores and performance profiles. The questionnaire will be administered via the platform to facilitate data processing. AKADEMIYA2063 will also develop communications tools at the regional and national levels to facilitate the dissemination of the scorecard results.
Regional and national stakeholders will be trained on the EATM-S methodology and tools. A regional workshop will be organized to train experts (at least three experts per country). Then, these experts will duplicate the training at the national level for all members of EATM-S team. The national training workshops will be organized in hybrid format (virtual and in-person) to facilitate online participation and backstopping support from AKADEMIYA2063.
Data collection, validation and reporting
Data collection, validation and reporting will be done at the country level under the supervision of the scorecard technical team. Collected data will be cleaned and analyzed under the supervision of the national EATM-S focal point who will then organize a meeting of the country’s EATM-S working group to validate the data before its transmission to the EATM-S electronic platform. AKADEMIYA2063 will provide national teams with backstopping support throughout the process.
Score generation and reporting
After data validation and upload, the EATM-S electronic platform will automatically assign scores to countries and generate regional and national profiles for the initial seven FSRP participating countries. The regional profiles will rank countries according to individual objectives, outcomes and indicators of the scorecard results framework. Country profiles will display country scores through decision diagrams (one per objective). Regional and national reports will be prepared based on the regional and national profiles and validated by respective national and regional working groups.
Development of communications and dissemination tools
With the support of AKADEMIYA2063, communications and dissemination tools for national and regional targets will be developed based on conclusions drawn from regional and national reports. They will then be validated by the regional and national working groups. The working groups will be encouraged and supported to use the communications tools developed in the various relevant regional and national dialogue processes and on mutual accountability platforms.
The above activities will be carried out over the next year. It is expected that the implementation of the EATM-S will help improve the implementation of regional trade policies and regulations, promote regional agrifood trade integration, facilitate cross-border trade of agricultural goods and inputs and, ultimately, contribute to higher intraregional trade flows and increased food systems resilience in West Africa.