The Borderless Alliance successfully organized its 5th Annual Conference at the Azalai Hotel de la Plagein Cotonou, Benin, May 18 – 20, 2016, under the theme “Regional Integration through the Development of Trade and Transport.”
Dubbed “Borderless 2016”and organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Benin, the Conference brought together more than 150 participants from 11 countries. These consist of the private sector – traders, manufacturers, transporters, freight forwarders; donors/development partners – USAID, GIZ, the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank, JICA and the European Union. Others are regional economic communities – ECOWAS and UEMOA; government officials – Minister of Transport of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Minister of Industry, Trade and Handicraft and the Minister of Transport, both of the Republic of Benin.
The conference had a two-day panel discussion in three thematic areas: Promoting Port Efficiency in West Africa; Removing Intra-regional Trade Barrier; and Financing Trade and Transport. These panel discussions provided an interactive platform for participants. High level experts from both private and public sectors in the sub region, as well as international organizations, took turns to share their experiences and best practices to: remove obstacles and barriers to trade; promote cross-border trade; and create appropriate funding tools for trade and transport stakeholders.
The Government of Benin, dignitaries and participants lauded the conference and expressed their continued support for Borderless Alliance in removing trade barriers in the West Africa sub region. “The Government of Benin is glad to be associated with this conference. We appreciate the efforts of Borderless Alliance and pledge our support to removing trade barriers in the sub region,” said Mr. Lazare Maurice SEHOUETO, Minister of Industry, Trade and Handicraft of the Republic of Benin.
At the conference, three private sector organizations registered and paid up as new members, while six other organizations registered as members, but were still preparing to pay up. That took the total membership of Borderless Alliance from 83 to 92.