The International Trade Centre (ITC), Associate Market Analyst, Mr. Yared Befecadu, on 25th April, 2019, visited the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) to conduct a need assessment leading to a conclusion that determines the agency or institution suitable to host the ‘Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism (TOAM)’ for Sierra Leone.
Mr. Yared Befecadu explained the Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism (TOAM) to be an integrated system that ITC is trying to create across all ECOWAS Member States to allow exporters and importers to report their obstacles or to request for information from all the different agencies involved in trade market in the country and at regional level. He said, the Need Assessment will be done with pertinent ministries, agencies and stakeholders including what would be the institutional setting to make this mechanism works.
He added that, TOAM will have two important components: An Online Platform that connects companies and relevant agencies allowing them to exchange information about trade obstacle and also an Institutional Network that ensures the cooperation of the different actors involved in the identification and resolution of problems reported through the online platform.
TOAM is a specific component of the West Africa Competitiveness Programme, launched by the ECOWAS Commission with European Union (EU) funding. It involves all ECOWAS Member States with a focus on improving regional value chain in ECOWAS and also incentive for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), he noted.
In response, the Acting Director of Marketing and Communication, Mr. Francis Minah, welcomed Mr. Befecadu, saying that SLIEPA is a key partner of ITC in the Country. He said the TOAM is important to SLIEPA because it is in line with its mandate to promote export. He on behalf of his Chief Executive Officer committed SLIEPA to working with ITC in ensuring that the TOAM works in Sierra Leone and at regional level.