By Adaeze Okechukwu
ECONOMIC Community of West African States, ECOWAS, and World Bank, yesterday, launched the ECOWAS Investment climate scorecard which aims at unlocking investment opportunities and deepening regional integration in West Africa.
Speaking at an event co-hosted by both bodies, ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion, Mr. Kalilou Traore, explained that the investment climate scorecard is an instrument that would enable ECOWAS and national policymakers of the member states to identify investment barriers both nationally and regionally, track the progress of national investment climate and investment policy reforms, as well as encourage the creation of a transparent and attractive investment climate to enhance private sector-led development in West Africa.
Traore highlighted during the event that ECOWAS was committed to implementing programmes that facilitate regional integration as well as improve business environment for private sector operators and the people of West Africa.
“The Investment Climate Scorecard standard benchmark criteria have been derived from international good-practice set forth in the ECOWAS Investment Policy Framework. The scorecard tool supports and monitors the implementation of the ECOWAS investment reforms in Member States by aligning national reform initiatives to the regional ECOWAS investment policy Framework. This balanced approach of the Scorecard will encourage national reforms that will foster regional policy harmonization,” he said.
Ms. Eme Essien, Nigeria Country Manager for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, said, during the event that West Africa has enormous potential to strengthen their competitiveness and increase investment flows, which can drive growth, reduce poverty, and deliver jobs to the region.
According to Ambassador Michel Arrion, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, the fact that the European Union is financing this project is testimony of the Commission’s commitment to improving regional private sector competitiveness through the facilitation of trade and investment.
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