admission of the two North African countries into the West African economic
bloc would negatively affect trade and customs revenue of Ecowas countries, a
preliminary report by the UN Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA) has stated.
Preliminary findings of the study by the West Africa office of UNECA revealed that admitting Morocco and Tunisia would lead to deterioration of trade and a decline in customs revenues for ECOWAS countries.
On the request of the ECOWAS Commission, the ECA, as a think-tank, has undertaken a thorough analysis of the potential implications on trade flows of the expansion of ECOWAS with the admission of the two countries as well as the re-admission of Mauritania.
The preliminary report of the study was released at a two-day sub-regional adhoc expert group meeting in Cotonou, Benin, 25 – 26 June 2018.
“The possible accession of Morocco and Tunisia would have contrasting effects on ECOWAS countries,” the report said, adding that ECOWAS would register negligible increase in exports to the North African countries, while the two countries’ exports to ECOWAS would increase further.
With free trade zone, for example, Moroccan exports to ECOWAS would increase by 74 per cent, compared with 24 per cent for ECOWAS; for Tunisia, export would increase by 89% against 49% for ECOWAS countries.
In addition to trade flows, government revenues derived from customs tariffs would be reduced with the admission of Morocco and Tunisia.