To promote better trading activities, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Regional Integration, Trade and Investment Committee (EARI-TIC), has been inaugurated by the nation’s foremost policy group, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). Consequently, the President of the chamber, Asiwaju (Dr.) Michael Olawale-Cole, has underlined the priorities of peace, political stability, and good governance, as some of the foremost promoters of regional integration, trade, and investment.
The establishment of the strategic committee is a way of showing LCCI’s commitment to promoting regional integration, trade and investment, as one of its strategic responses to the peculiar challenges in the sub-region as well as on the continent. “Promoting regional investment and trade is a complex and very important task for private businesspeople and for the government for the benefits of the African continent. This is helped when all the critical stakeholders – public and private are seen and experienced to be above board, supported by relevant institutions and fault-free processes”, he said.
The committee, which is meant to work collaboratively with the other local and international stakeholders to promote regional integration, would help the chamber receive up-to-date information and analyse regional investment and trade-related issues from a broad array of stakeholders while the EARI-TIC’s members include stakeholders from a wide range of backgrounds, including trade specialists, financial services, manufacturing, solid minerals, and professional services. The new committee is to support the government’s efforts to promote investment and trade in the sub-region and on the continent. Ms. Shade Bembatoum-Young, one of the Chamber’s Honorary Life Vice Presidents, is the Technical Adviser to the Committee.
The terms of reference for EARI-TIC include initiating and actively participating in discussions related to land border control, security, infrastructure, non-tariff barriers to intra-ECOWAS and intra-African trade. The committee is also expected to contribute to strategic initiatives for developing and maintaining beneficial relationships between the LCCI and the ECOWAS Commission and other regional and international institutions, and actively participate in the discussion of private sector involvement in championing the AfCFTA-guided trade initiative. “The chamber continues to advocate for peace and safety across ECOWAS through good governance, accountability, and respect for the rule of law. The organised private sector is desirous of an enabling business environment that is devoid of disunity, war, and chaos”, the LCCI President added.