Accra, Ghana, Thursday, February 21, 2013 – The Managing Director/CEO of Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr. Roberts U. Orya at the annual conference of the Borderless Alliance tagged ‘Connecting Markets’ taking place in Accra, Ghana from February 21 – 22, 2013, reaffirmed the commitment of Nigeria’s Trade Policy Bank to removing trade barriers and promoting seamless commercial exchanges among ECOWAS Member States

In a statement issued by the Bank’s Head of Corporate Communication, Mr. Chinedu Moghalu, the Borderless Alliance fosters change by bringing to light trade inefficiencies throughout the region. Through the work if its partners, it undertakes research to find what are the most paralyzing obstacles to producers, traders, buyers and investors with the findings and data published as a way to pressure decision makers to change policy to help develop their economies.

Speaking through his keynote address, ‘Improving Investment Climate Through Effective Movement of Goods and Persons in West Africa’, Mr. Orya praised the partners of the Alliance and lauded the initiative of the ECOWAS Commission targeted at creating an enabling environment to attract investment within the Region. Such frameworks espouses Common Investment market initiatives such as the ECOWAS Investment Policy Framework (IPF) are designed to nurture and facilitate the creation of a healthy business environment that would be attractive to all investors as well as foster the pursuance of effective key investment policy, Investment promotion and facilitation; Trade Policy; Tax policy and Corporate governance.

He stated that notwithstanding the good intendment of the IPF and other frameworks targeted at free trade within the sub-region, facilitating free movement of goods, persons and capital as well as macroeconomic policy convergence, have not worked as satisfactorily. To achieve the desired progress, the ECOWAS community needs to enhance their commitments to improving the operations and processes of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and ECOWAS Road Transit Scheme (ISRT) and as a matter of urgency invigorate implementation of the macroeconomic policy convergence and policy harmonization.

Identifying the major problem as one of transport infrastructure, Mr Orya informed the meeting that NEXIM Bank, is committed to facilitating the removal of trade barriers to commercial exchanges among Member States even beyond the sub-region.

He stated that high transportation costs and excessive transit time has regrettably made intra-regional trade non-competitive with West African transport and logistics costs being one of the highest in the World. This becomes very palpable when it is realized that there is no dedicated safe and modern fleet to encourage and facilitate Atlantic Short-Sea Trade and other challenges that constitute barriers to increasing intra-regional trade and free movement of persons, goods and services. Hence, NEXIM Bank determination to facilitate a private sector-driven Sealink initiative targeted at stringing up the coastal members of ECOWAS as well as some Central African countries.

Concluding his remarks, Mr. Orya stated that effective free movement of persons, goods and services is paramount to improving the investment climate and called on ECOWAS members to intensify activities on Corridor Management and Border Information Centres to reduce incidences of Non-Tariff Measures. In addition, the African Development Bank’s 2011 – 2015 Regional Integration Strategy Paper for West Africa (RISP), especially with regards to investment in road corridors, transport and trade facilitation initiatives has to be pursued and implemented with strong political will.

According to available information, Borderless is a collaboration developed by Publicis Ghana for the USAID West Africa Trade Hub and public and private sector stakeholders including ECOWAS, UEMOA, USAID, the World Bank, Nigerian Export-Import Bank, the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Organization, the USAID Agribusiness and Trade Promotion and Enhanced Agribusiness and Trade Promotion projects, the USAID Economic Growth Project in Senegal (PCE), the USAID Integrated Initiatives for Economic Growth in Mali (IICEM), TransAlloman Togo, Verhad Trucking and Haulage Ltd. in Ghana and with support from the Governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

As a catalyst for change, Borderless was founded and exists for the sole purpose of eliminating trade barriers through creation of greater awareness and working with partners to remove trade barriers. For NEXIM Bank, supporting initiatives of this nature is indispensable to achieving the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck and making Nigeria one of the twenty top economies by Year2020.

About NEXIM Bank – The Nigerian Export-Import Bank was established by Act 38 of 1991 as an Export Credit Agency with the broad mandate to promoting the diversification of the Nigerian economy and deepening the external sector, particularly the non-oil through the provision of credit facilities in both local and foreign currencies; risk-bearing facilities through export credit guarantee & export credit insurance; business development and financial advisory services etc.

In pursuit of its mandate of promoting export diversification and deepening the non-oil sector, the Bank’s current strategic initiatives are targeted towards boosting employment creation and foreign exchange earnings in the Manufacturing, Agro-processing, Solid Minerals and Services (Tourism, Transportation and Entertainment) industries.