About 70 public and private sector representatives from 15 Member States of ECOWAS, as well as representatives from the ECOWAS Commission, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the European Union, and the World Bank Group have converged in Lagos the economic capital of Nigeria for a two day Roundtable meeting 13th – 14th June 2017 on the ECOWAS Investment Scorecard organised by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the World Bank Group under the European Union funded Improved Business and Investment Climate in West Africa Project.
This meeting precedes a high leveled workshop held last week on Investment promotion Project for West Africa.
The main objective of this meeting is to launch the ECOWAS Investment Climate (IC) Scorecard, an innovative instrument that enables both the ECOWAS Commission and national policymakers of the Member States to identify investment barriers both nationally and regionally; track the progress of national investment-climate and investment-policy reforms; share good practices and proposed investment reforms both nationally and regionally; and encourage the creation of a transparent and attractive investment climate to enhance private sector-led development in West Africa. Project is being implemented by the World Bank Group which seeks to address a range of investment policy issues that constitute barriers for the private sector to invest efficiently across the region.
Mr. Kalilou Traore, ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion opened the series of welcome addresses by identifying challenges of investing in West Africa and the barriers constraining the siting of investment within the region which inhibit West Africa’s competitiveness and account for the under performance of the region as an investment destination despite her enormous natural endowments, relative to other developing regions of the World.
He however stressed that the implementation of the scorecard mechanism will eliminate these impediments, while providing a tool to monitor and track the reform efforts of Member States and their compliance with ECOWAS Investment Policy Framework. It will also be the pivot of the “improved business and investment climate in West Africa Project”, which is being implemented with the technical support of the World Bank Group, under the broader “Support for West African Private Sector Competitiveness Program of the 10th EDF.
Ms. Nadia Cannata – Head of section Economic governance and Trade Cooperation EU, Mr. Marou Sawadogo – Head Investment Climate Regional Program UEMOA, Mrs. Iyalode Alaba Lawson – Vice President FEWACCI, Ms. Eme Essien Lore – Country Manager for Nigeria, IFC/World Bank Group also continued from where the commissioner stopped in a series of welcome address targeting the three strategic goals of reducing investment entry barriers, improving investment incentives administration transparency and building capacity for Member States in Transfer Pricing regulation, the “improved business and investment climate in West Africa project” seeks to take pragmatic steps to facilitate the emergence of a conducive and predictable investment climate in advancement of the ECOWAS Common Investment Market (ECIM) vision, in which Member States’ investment policies are harmonized, capital and entrepreneurship move freely, the scale economies of the region are optimized through common policies and measures that support increased cross border investment flow and productive activities.
At the end of the meeting the participants would have endorsed the overall Scorecard framework, including both the diagnostic and process components of the Tool, agree on the final indicators selected; investment-policy and investment-climate benchmark criteria; the evaluation criteria, including: (i) the grading scale to be used by private sector to evaluate performance under each Scorecard indicator; and (ii) private sector mechanism or/and modality to evaluate investment regulatory landscape in light of the Scorecard indicators; and most importantly, for Pilot countries to agree on the specific reforms that each will undertake to be monitored by the regional Scorecard.
The workshop was declared opened by Mrs. Obiajulu Ihonor, Senior Private Sector Specialist on behalf of the World Bank Group.
The Improved Business and Investment Climate in West Africa Project is a four-year initiative that was launched in November 2014. The Project is funded by the European Union and seeks to support the ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS Member States to remove national investment constraints/barriers and to promote the regional expansion of cross-border investments. The Project is implemented by the World Bank Group which is providing technical assistance and working in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission, the Member States, and private sector business associations.
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