The high cost of West Africa's “free trade” in food
Abdul Rahman, a cargo driver loading tomatoes, is charged each time he crosses the border from Burkina Faso into Ghana. “They’re always taking too much money from us and we don’t know the reason why they are doing that,” he said. “In Ghana also, the customs and the police also do the same things to us. We are appealing to the government and to other stakeholders to do something about it.”
Abdul’s experience — and frustration — isn’t unique.
West African countries rely on global and intraregional trade to supplement national food supplies. The region is home to a diversity of agro-ecosystems and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) aims to promote regional agricultural trade among its member countries.