Abuja, Nigeria – The ECOWAS Commission in partnership with GIZ and other partners have completed a four-day workshop for journalists from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, The Gambia and Senegal to enhance their understanding of regional free trade and how their reporting would impact the successful implementation of the trade facilitation agreement and the African continental Free Trade Area through informing and sensitizing policy makers and the border society.
The training ran from Noveember 29 to December 1, 2022, in Abuja, Nigeria with over 30 journalists from ECOWAS region attending. The training was also geared towards building a network of journalists across the ECOWAS region to provide public awareness about free trade and the policies that are involved.
“The main objective of this training was to introduce the WTO (World Trad Organization) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to journalists of ECOWAS Member States in order to facilitate their reporting on Trade issues,” said Seydou Sacko, the Principal Program officer for informal cross border trade at the ECOWAS commission.
The participants of the training are also expected to share the knowledge that they’ve received with their colleagues in their media landscape in order to gear massive efforts towards promoting the implementation of the AfCFTA through more reports and awareness in the area of trade, Sacko said.
“The major objectives to build the capacity of the journalists so as to: promote and facilitate regional multi-stakeholders dialogue including public, private dialogue on issues related to regional trade policies and trade agreements. And create platforms for consultation between corridor stakeholders that would establish consensual governance mechanisms for effective policy monitoring,” added Dangana Raymond Adagye, the Trade & Private Sector Advisor (TFWA) on behalf of GIZ.
In an interview with Local Voices Liberia reporter Aria Deemie, who attended the training, one of the participants, Precious Amayo, a TV/News Anchor with TVC News Nigeria, said the training has taught her how important trade and trade agreements are.
“Imagine what it will mean for a local farmer or shoemaker in Nigeria to have access to markets in 54 other countries of the continent,” she said, adding that the AfCFTA will significantly improve livelihoods for most Nigerians and Africans in general.
Also, Lwaku Sakyi- Danso, a reporter with a Ghana online news, said he promotes AfCFTA because it will help local traders in his country. “As a parliamentary reporter, this trade has opened me up to focus on trade issues,” he said
With the knowledge acquired from the training, Journalists are now expected to report on AfCFTA in their respective countries and help sensitize the public and engage public actors and policy makers about the free trade issues.