Cotonou: West African Experts Meeting to Brainstorm on the Implications of ECOWAS Potential Expansion and the AfCFTA

Cotonou, Benin, 26 June 2018 (ECA) – The Government of Benin, in collaboration with the Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), has launched the activities of the Ad hoc Expert Group Meeting, under the theme: “Implications of ECOWAS potential expansion and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”, in Cotonou, on Monday, June 25.

This Ad hoc Meeting, which holds upon the signing of the AfCFTA by 44 countries of the 55 Member-States of the African Union, and with the intention expressed by some North African countries to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), aims to carry out further in-depth reflection on the likely economic and socio-economic implications of these major projects.

For the Director of Cabinet of the Minister of State for Planning and Development of Benin, Mr Rufino d’Almeida, “The activities of this high-level meeting will enrich the preliminary results of the draft report, proposed by the ECA and formulate recommendations for an economic and socio-economic expansion which is beneficial for the various parties”.

On his part, Mr. Dimitri Sanga, Director of the ECA Sub-Regional Office for West Africa, holds that: “These debates will be even more passionate for a geo-economic context, characterized by a looming economico-commercial war between major world powers, led by the United States of America, the European block and China”.

This Ad hoc Experts Group Meeting was an occasion for participants to examine economic implications relating to trade flows and public revenues, identify and discuss the main challenges and stakes for ECOWAS, and also for the candidate-countries vying for membership. It also served to make recommendations for an economic and socio-economic expansion that is beneficial for the different parties and especially for an effective AfCFTA.

This two-day meeting included plenary sessions during which participants discussed the major implications, challenges and stakes regarding the expansion of ECOWAS through the membership of new countries, both for the different parties and for the implementation of the AfCFTA.

The meeting was attended by experts from ECOWAS Member States, representatives of regional economic communities and intergovernmental organizations in West Africa. Representatives of the private sector and civil society actively engaged in development efforts to promote integration in West Africa were invited as well. Experts in foreign trade, customs and integration issues at the ministries of trade and economy and finance were the main targets at the country level.


For more information, please contact: Tahirou Gouro, Communication Officer, ECA-SRO/WA,

mob: +227 90 99 99 39, Email:

For more information on the Ad hoc Expert Group Meeting, please visit:


Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826