Tribune: The importance of including cross-border traders in the fight against non-tariff barriers in Togo

Monday, 09 May 2022 12:29
Tribune: The importance of including cross-border traders in the fight against non-tariff barriers in Togo

(Togo First) - Thousands of businesspeople–men and women–have been crossing the country's land borders with their goods, but until now they couldn’t denounce the daily issues hampering their activities, said Coami Sedolo Tamegnon, President of Togo’s Employers’ Council (CNP-Togo), and VP and also the Chairman of the Union of Industrial Importers and Exporters of Togo (SCIMPEXTO), Yiva Badohu.  

In this tribune, they both call on cross-border traders to mobilize for the removal of trade barriers, leveraging Trade Barriers Africa.

 (Tribune) The COVID-19-induced restrictions on movement and border closures have made it more difficult to export goods across the sub-region.  

Those who are most affected are small traders and cross-border SMEs, notably transport companies, agri-exporters, textile retailers, etc. Their businesses, but also, for many, their finances are threatened by the situation.  

Due to inexistent centralized arrangements and simplified procedures, they feel, fully, the impacts of so-called non-tariff barriers (NTBs) at borders. Import quotas, unjustified documentation requirements, and restrictive, and sometimes poorly enforced, customs procedures, to name a few, are examples of administrative hassles Togolese traders are facing. 

However, many traders keep moving and selling their goods in neighboring countries. These traders–women, mostly– use informal, but highly risky, routes to avoid going through the tedious compliance procedures on formal routes.  

To tackle this critical situation, the government recently introduced reforms to facilitate the movement of goods and boost cross-border trade. Still, for non-tariff barriers to be fully eradicated, all private actors, including small traders, must be involved, which they are ready and willing to do.

Is the implementation of Trade Barriers in Africa a solution?

While several initiatives to suppress non-tariff barriers in the region already exist, until now, none of them looked to mobilize micro, small and medium enterprises in the fight against trade barriers. 

Recently launched in Togo and throughout Africa, Trade Barriers Africa is an online reporting mechanism that allows traders themselves to alert the authorities of difficulties they encounter while crossing borders.

This initiative, launched by the African Union, is laudable. Now, Togolese traders need to enquire about it, to improve the conditions for moving their goods between borders, and, subsequently, to trade more easily.

The reporting mechanism is very simple to use and accessible to all traders. To report a barrier to trade, simply go to and fill in a form with details of the problem encountered. The information provided is directly transmitted to the representatives of the states involved, who then ensure that the trade barrier in question is eliminated at the national level.

Beyond what it represents, Trade Barriers Africa shows the importance of involving the private sector in solving the region's business and trade issues. Small traders and SMEs are at the heart of cross-border trade, so they must become full-fledged actors in the fight against non-tariff barriers in Togo, and Africa as a whole.

Call to action!

Let's mobilize for the facilitation of cross-border trade

Cross-border entrepreneurship and the free movement of goods, particularly with the creation of the AfCFTA, are major issues for the economic recovery of Togo. They are at the heart of our concerns and actions at the CNP and SCIMPEXTO. We are delighted, with the opportunity given to small traders and cross-border SMEs, and that they can help facilitate cross-border trade. From now on, it is up to them! We strongly encourage them to use Trade Barriers Africa so that non-tariff barriers can finally disappear and they can boost their trade.

(Tribune) co-signed by Coami Sedolo TAMEGNON, President of Togo’s National Council of Employers (CNP-Togo), and Yiva BADOHU Vice-President of the CNP-Togo and President of the Union of Industrial Importers and Exporters of Togo (SCIMPEXTO).

To contact us: c o n t a c t [@] t o g o f i r s t . c o m

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