Trade Capacity Building

Trade Negotiations Capacity Building (TNCB)

The Trade Negotiations Capacity Building Project (TNCB) is designed to overcome the obstacles to the efforts of ECOWAS member states to engage meaningfully in trade negotiations and effectively implement trade agreements.

The ECOWAS Trade Negotiations Capacity Building Project was established to strengthen the negotiating capacity of member states to enable them to benefit from their participation in the global trading system. A key element of the project is human capacity building. However, for negotiators to be able to translate their results into relevant policy strategies, the relevant institutional and organizational structures must exist. Therefore, the project also aims at assisting member states to put in place the necessary structures for more coordination of trade policy issues.


Objectives TNCB

The objectives of the ECOWAS Trade Negotiation Capacity Building (TNCB) Project are as follows:

  1. Increase the knowledge of multilateral trade rules and enhance the understanding of the importance of multilateral trade for development and poverty reduction in the ECOWAS region,
  2. Increase economic integration among the member countries, and
  3. Increase the capacity in ECOWAS Member States to negotiate multilateral trade agreements at regional and national level
  4. Strengthen dialogue platforms and institutional structures for Trade Policy formulation, negotiation, implementation and negotiation



The main activities of the TNCB Project are:

  1. Training
  2. Planning and Coordination meetings
  3. Technical Assistance
  4. Support to Inter-Institutional Committees


Training and Capacity Building

The ECOWAS RCNC project provides training and capacity building programmes for member states to enhance their international negotiation skills. To date, more than 3000 participants have been trained on trade policy in related areas. The project also contributes to building human and institutional capacity in the ECOWAS Commission to enable it to better play its increasingly central role in regional integration.


Planning and Coordination Meetings

Meetings of the National Coordinating Committees on Trade (NCCTs) and the Project Steering Committee (PSC) are held annually to provide strategic guidance and review progress on the project.


Technical Assistance

The project provided technical assistance to the ECOWAS Commission for the finalization and adoption of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET), which entered into force on 1 January 2015. Short-term Technical Assistance is also available to Member States upon request.


Support to the Inter-Institutional Committee on Trade.

The Inter-Institutional Committees (IICs) were established (or strengthened) by the CNTN project with the aim of being the National Central Committee and a forum for dialogue between key actors from governmental and non-governmental institutions on the coordination and formulation of trade management policies, monitoring the implementation of World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements and preparing the technical position for trade negotiations. The Committee was also designed to play a central role in the coordination of domestic trade policy issues beyond the scope of the Ministry of Trade.