The study, conducted by the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel with support from USAID, found that one of the major obstacles to development of intraregional trade in agricultural and food products in West Africa is the multiplicity of checkpoints.
“These are the natural forms of administrative barriers and costs of all kinds (official taxes, fees, contributions, illegal payments etc.). These checkpoints cause delays in getting products to consumer markets, and different types of illegal payments increase the cost-price of commodities to the final consumer,” the study revealed.
The study titled ‘Road Harassment on Agricultural Products in the Sahel and West Africa’ was conducted between August and December 2015.
On the Ougadougou, Burkina Faso to Accra route, which is about 1,004 kilometres, the study showed that there were as many as 54 barriers, while each trip cost close to about ₵1,000 in illegal payments and bribes to officials mounting the barriers.
The study was undertaken in the last quarter of 2015 as a collaboration between ECOWAS and selected countries in the Sahel region of Africa, to promote the development of regional trade, enhance and expand the achievements of other programmes in the field, and enhance the flow of trade of agricultural and food products.
The goal of the quarterly study is meant to overcome obstacles and provide regular information on barriers to regional trade; collect data on trade flows along corridors; obtain information from surveys on road harassment, and work with traders, drivers and public officials to facilitate the free movement of people, goods and vehicles in the respective space.
The report is supported the USAID under the Feed t Future initiative of the Unit States of America government.
The survey data generated are used to produce monthly reports which are disseminate widely, especially policymakers.
These reports are also presented to stakeholders in each of the countries where national meetings known as road shows are conducted, and to share the results of surveys on road harassment involving public authorities, private economic operators, civil society and the media.