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The mission of the Department is to eliminate the challenges that hinder trade and transportation of goods and services among Member States through the development of Infrastructural programme/projects as well as the harmonization of policies.

It also sets to facilitate the development of infrastructure for the attainment of a Competitive Business Environment and Investment Capacities, the core areas of focus includes:

  1. Address current infrastructural needs of the Community
  2. Focus on multimodal transportation systems to improve connectivity between member states
  3. Reduce cost and enhance provision of infrastructure services
  4. Increase involvement of the private sector and public-private-partnerships in infrastructure development
  5. Secure adequate funding for infrastructure projects – facilitate member states access to funds, secure foreign capital and expertise
  6. Institutionalize effective regulatory framework for the business environment
  7. Increase private sector participation in business environment reforms
Transport sector

Transport has been identified as a key catalyst in the attainment of the ECOWAS Commission’s people-centered regional integration vision that is capable of stimulating economic growth and eradicating poverty in the region. Accordingly, Article 32 of the ECOWAS revised Treaty of 1993 seeks the development of transport infrastructure and policies within Member States to promote the facilitation of the movement of persons, goods and services within the Community. In this light, the key objectives for the Transport sector programmes are;

Promote Regional transport and transit facilitation in the ECOWAS Region

  1. Promote investment in regional Infrastructure development and management
  2. Strengthen the legal framework on Cross Border Cooperation (CBC) and define mechanisms and penalties in the legal framework for cases of non-compliance/non-implementation of the texts
  3. Establish common operational rules for transport infrastructure and services in the region.


The principal activity in the Land Transport sector has been the continued implementation of the ECOWAS Regional Road Transport and Transit Facilitation Programme contained in ECOWAS C/DEC. 13/01/03.  The Key achievements are as followings:


1.0 ECOWAS Joint Border Posts Programme

The concept of Joint Border Post is to improve upon the efficiency of inter-state transportation system in terms of reduced cost, time and reliability of the road transport system from gateway port to in-land destination. In a broader sense, the JBPs are aimed at enhancing movement of persons, vehicles and goods within the Community through effective and efficient joint controls at land Borders. Two Joint Border Post are currently supervised by the ECOWAS Commission. They are the Noepe and Seme/Krake JBPs. The third JBP which is under the supervision of the UEMOA Commission is at Mallanville between Republic of Benin and Niger.


1.1 Noepe JBP (between Ghana and Togo)

The construction of the Noepe Joint Border Post (JBP) between Ghana and Togo financed under the European Union has been completed and the JBP was handed over during a ceremony on 3rd November attended by the Presidents of the two countries and other top Government officials as well as the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Commissioners and other officials. A study to identify equipment to be procured and installed at the JBP before its operationalization has been initiated. The study includes an equipment needs assessment and finalization of operating manuals for all border Agencies at the Border.  The JBP construction is estimated at €11,393,992.76 .


1.2 Seme JBP (between Benin & Nigeria)

Following the cancellation of the Works Contract with Messrs JDP Ltd for poor performance on site, the procurement of works and consultancy contracts for the re-award of Seme JBP construction was completed in June, 2014. A new contract was awarded to Messrs GER Togo for completion within 11 Months. A construction works re-launch and ground breaking ceremony was done on 24th November, 2014, on the Seme border site by the ECOWAS Commission with the Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Benin and other officials from the ECOWAS Commission and the two countries, in attendance. Construction works are at various stages of completion.


Axle Load Harmonization Policy:

The Authority of Heads of State and Government during their February 2012 Summit approved the Supplementary Act relating to the Harmonization of Standards and Procedures for the Control of Dimensions, Weight and Axle Load of Goods Vehicle within ECOWAS Member States. The Act subsequently received the full signature of all Heads of States and Governments in June, 2013. A Roadmap with timelines and specific activities for national Governments, private sector, seaports and other stakeholders, was approved by Sector Ministers of Member States and annexed to the Act. Copies of the signed Act were communicated to all Member States in June, 2014 to begin implementation. Full implementation is expected by July 2015. The Commission intends to liaise closely with development partners to support Member States with Equipment and Policies to help implement the Regional Act harmoniously.


2.0 Nigeria-Cameroon Multinational Highway and Transport Facilitation programme:

2.1 Design and Construction of Mfum Joint Border Post

This project is the construction of a Joint Border Post (JBP) at Mfum border between Nigeria (in ECOWAS) and Cameroon (in ECASS). The proposed Mfum JBP is located on an approximately 9.978 hectares wholly in Nigeria territory. The JBP consist of Administrative Building, Customs brigade, vehicle parking lots, etc. The concept of JBP is design to bring together the border operations of adjourning countries on to one facility. The aim is to reduce delays associated to border crossing.

The project consists of a Detailed Engineering Design of the JBP facility which commenced in March 2014 with Geotechnical investigations, Survey Works and, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment. The Draft Detailed Design Reports which contain the Detailed Engineering Design Drawings and Tender Dossiers were reviewed by Member States’ experts in July 2014 in Lagos, and re-validated on October 13, 2014 through a video conferencing. The Final Engineering Designs are currently being processed for onward transmission to the Bank for No Objection.


2.2 Study on the Development of Legal Framework for Mfum JBP & Axle Load Harmonization between Nigeria and Cameroon

ECOWAS Commission successfully selected and negotiated a Consultancy Contract for the Development of a Legal framework for the Mfum Joint Border Post and for the harmonization of Axle Load control standards between Cameroon and Nigeria. The studies would culminate in the development of a Bilateral Agreement, a Procedural Manual of Operation and a harmonised Axle Load regime between Nigeria and Cameroon.  These products would define how both countries would carry out border formalities on a common facility. In developing the products, consultative meetings with relevant Border Agencies both in Nigeria and Cameroon were held in March 2014. Consultations were also held with ECOWAS, ECCAS and CEMAC. An Inception reports for the studies was submitted in April 2014. The Draft Interim Reports was reviewed at the 11th JTC meeting of the programme. Experts from immigration, police, customs, border health, plant quarantine, border security, Ministries of Finance, Roads/Works, Transport and Joint Boundary Commission from Nigeria and Cameroon participated in the review of the Draft Bilateral Agreements and Joint Border Post Legal framework. The Draft Final Reports was submitted in January 2015, and validated by experts from both countries in February 2015.


3.0 Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Development Programme:

The Presidents of the five countries along the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor in February 2013 decided to expand the highway to a 6-Lane (2×3) dual-carriage Highway from Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire through Accra, Lome and Cotonou to Lagos in Nigeria. In fulfilment of the decision of the Presidents, the ECOWAS Commission has so far organised four meetings of the Steering Committee established by the Presidents, and saddled with the responsibilities to ensure to the realization of this project. The Steering Committee is made up of all the Road Infrastructure Ministers from the five countries.


  • Signing of the Treaty (Agreement) by the Presidents of the concerned Member States at the margins of the ECOWAS Summit in February 2014 at Yamoussoukro, Cote d’lvoire.
  • Finalization of the Terms of Reference for feasibility and detailed design studies for the highway construction.
  • A seed fund of $50million will be contributed by the concerned countries so as to fast track the studies. In view of the urgency and the request of the Presidents of the other Member States, Nigeria agreed to provide this seed fund upfront on behalf of the other countries on the margins of the ECOWAS Summit in June 2014 in Accra. The Commission is liaising closely with the Presidency of Nigeria for the transfer of the funds to be effected.
  • The African Union Commission, Germany Government, UK Government, China and India have also expressed strong interest in supporting the project.
  • The African Development Bank is also currently Appraising their intended support to the Technical Engineering Study of the Highway, including some project management components.
4.0 Trans-Gambia Transport corridor:

This project consists of the construction of the Trans-Gambia Bridge and Joint Border Posts (JBP) as well as the rehabilitation of 137 km of roads connecting the northern and southern parts of both The Gambia and Senegal. The AfDB in July, 2013, initiated the process of conducting a detailed study for the establishment of the JBP and the Border Procedures and Processes along the Trans-Gambia Bridge.  A consultant for the engineering design of 2No. Joint Border Post has been recruited to carry out the studies before December 2014.

The total cost for Phase I of the project is UA 67.36 million, which is co-financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) 99.07%, the Government of the Gambia (0.24%) and the Government of Senegal (0.69%) and will be executed over a five year period (2012-2017).


5.0 Trans-West African Coastal Highway programme:

Under the support from the European Union 10th Regional Indicative Programme, €62.245 million was programmed by the European Union to support the construction of three bridges in Sierra Leone and the road section between the Moa Bridge and Liberia border which are missing links on the Trans coastal highway. The funds would also be used for the construction of the Zinder-Nigeria Border road and Koupela Piega-Fada Gourma Niger Border on the Trans Sahelian highway. In agreement with the European Union, the ECOWAS Commission transferred its authority to the National Authorizing Officers of the respective countries to implement the projects. The implementation of the projects is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2015.


6.0 Railways sub sector:

In the Railways sub sector detailed engineering studies of the Kaya-Dory-Niamey link connecting the Abidjan-Ouagadougou railway line to the Republic of Niger was initiated with funding from the European Union in 2010. The Final Reports was validated in the September 25 and 26, 2014 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, bringing to closure of this activity. The next stage will be to undertake the Detailed Engineering Studies to enable the financing and procurement of the works contract to be initiated.



The Air transport programme of ECOWAS seeks to develop a sound and seamless regional air transport system with safe, reliable, efficient and affordable air services, well connected within West Africa and integrated with the global air transport network. The key achievements are as follows:


1.0 Implementation of Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) for air transport liberalization.

In line with the decision of the 43rd Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS in Abuja, Nigeria, dated on 18 July 2013, a 1st coordinating meeting of the Steering Committee to support the coordination and driving role of ECOWAS Championship was held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, from 11-12 February, 2014. This meeting elaborated a draft Roadmap for Air Transport Sustainable Development in ECOWAS member States which has been submitted to H.E. Alassane Ouattara, and later to the 44th session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, in March 2014 in Yamoussoukro.


2.0 Implementation of President Portfolios.

In February 2014, the President of ECOWAS Commission directed the Infrastructure Department to achieve the key objectives for the implementation of the air transport action plan and the feasibility study on Regional Aircraft Leasing Company. To this end, a draft Terms of Reference (TORs) has been elaborated and forwarded for consideration to the Brazilian stakeholders (ANAC-Brazil, BNDES, EMBRAER) which expressed interest to support ECOWAS Commission. An Aide Memoire for the implementation of air transport integration based projects (Aircraft Leasing Company, Aircraft Maintenance Facility, Air Transport Data Base, Development of Airport Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities, Common Policy on Aviation Charges, etc. was signed following a Consultative meeting between ECOWAS Commission and EBID in June 2014.


3.0 Promotion of a Viable Airline Industry in ECOWAS region.

The ECOWAS Commission organized the 5th meeting of the Steering Committee of ECOWAS Airlines, held in Lagos, Nigeria, from 20 to 22 March, 2014. This meeting led to the following conclusions: adoption of a 2014-2015 Action Plan; validation of a draft Terms of Reference (TORs) and a draft Service Contract relating to the recruitment of a Consultant as Coordinator for the Steering Committee of ECOWAS airlines.


4.0 Delocalized meeting of ECOWAS Parliament on Air Transportation in ECOWAS region, in Dakar, Senegal, from 7-12 April, 2014.

This meeting was a good forum for the Air Transport Unit to sensitize the members of ECOWAS Parliament on constraints, challenges, achievements and programme especially on the implementation of the 2014-2020 Air Transport Action Plan adopted in Banjul on 21-23 October, 2013 by the Air Transport Committee, and on the 9 Air Transport Supplementary Acts establishing a common air transport legal framework for ECOWAS Member States in February 2012, by the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.


5.0 Aeronautical Cooperation.

Continued dialogue with major aviation organizations which have signed agreement or MOU with ECOWAS:

– ECAC in Paris in March 2014,

– Signature of an Air Transport Action Plan with ICAO in Montreal on 2 October, 2014

– Held a consultative meeting with WFP on the margins of the 6th WFP Global Humanitarian Aviation Conference in Geneva, 7-9 October, 2014 on ways forward on enhancing air transport in the region and mutual support during the emergency EBOLA operations in the affected countries in West Africa. These participations contribute to capacity building and attainment of best practices for ECOWAS Air Transport Unit.


6.0 Mobilization of Funds.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) carried out an appraisal mission in Abuja, Nigeria, from 8 to 11 January, 2014, to review the ECOWAS request of new grant for air transport sector (support to air transport liberalization, implementation of aviation safety oversight programme and implementation of integrate-based projects such as Aircraft leasing Company, Aircraft maintenance facility, Air Transport Data Base, etc). At the end of the mission an Aide Memoire was signed between ECOWAS and AfDB. It was scheduled to finalize negotiations between ECOWAS and AfDB by end November/December 2014.



The programmes/projects when completed and fully operational are expected to impact positively on the lively standard of the people of the ECOWAS region and beyond in the following ways:

  1. Land Transport:
  2. Reduce Trade and logistics cost
  3. Enhance intra-regional trade
  4. Increase revenue to Governments
  5. Enhance free movement of persons between neighboring Member States
  6. Improve cross-border co-operation, security and sharing of intelligence and resources for border control agencies by 2016,
  7. Reduce corruption and revenue leakage at borders
  8. Reduction in delays, operating costs & incidence of social cancers like drinking or promiscuity attributable to border delays, for transport operators and forwarders.
  9. Production and wide dissemination of valuable practical evidence for advocacy-support to drive results in corridor performance in terms of trade and transport facilitation (road condition, road blocks, illegal fees, delays, road accident statistics, etc.)
  10. Support the development of a monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the implementation of protocols on transport, trade and the free movement of persons and goods.
  11. Support the performance of Facilitation and Corridor Management Agencies or Committees.
  12. Support evidence-based advocacy for improved transport and mobility in West Africa. Availability of information to stakeholders, especially the private sector, relating to transit and trade across borders such as mandated controls and required documentation
  13. Provide the needed incentive for non-performing corridors (Member States, Customs, Sea Ports, etc.) to operate in accordance with Regional and International policies and protocols.
  14. Help increase trade and strengthen cooperation between countries of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and those of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in general, and between Cameroon and Nigeria.
  15. Improve the efficiency of the logistic chain of transport along the Bamenda-Enugu corridor, as well as the living environment of populations of the programme area.
  16. Allow the haulage of existing mineral products and the potential of increasing traffic to the ports.
  17. Provide alternatives for passenger traffic from the affected zones, although this remains marginal.
  18. Provide advantage for regional integration and economic development of the countries concerned.
  19. Generate direct and indirect employment in the areas and contribute to raise the standard of living of the populations of the countries concerned.
  20. Summarize current situation, difficulties and practices regarding ISPS Code implementation at international level;
  21. Identify critical dates and foreseen problems / costs in case ISPS Code measures are not implemented;
  22. Review Member States efforts in the implementation of ISPS code at port, shipping, public administration levels with respect to requirements imposed by ISPS Code and with respect to current environment conditions in the region (member states with main regional maritime ports should only be considered);
  23. Identify main areas of needed intervention at national level in the form of gap analysis;
  24. Elaborate a capacity building plan in terms of needed investment, and operational changes (procedures, staffing) at all levels (public sector, private sector, ports, ships);
  25. Estimate needed investment and operational costs increases with potential sources of financing; and
  26. Propose a realistic transitional action plan to improve the conditions.

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