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Withdrawal of Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger from ECOWAS could impact trade of onions, tomatoes negatively

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Three military-led West African nations have announced their immediate withdrawal from the regional bloc ECOWAS, accusing the body of becoming a threat to its members.

Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso “decide in complete sovereignty on the immediate withdrawal” from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), read a joint statement published on Sunday.

ECOWAS “under the influence of foreign powers, betraying its founding principles, has become a threat to its member states and its population”, read the statement.

The three countries accused the regional body of failing to support their fight against “terrorism and insecurity”, while imposing “illegal, illegitimate, inhumane and irresponsible sanctions”.

ECOWAS said in a statement that it had not been notified of the countries’ decision to quit the bloc. Its protocol provides that withdrawal takes up to one year to be completed, Aljazeera reports.

Speaking about the trade and economic implications of the move by the three countries on the Day Break Upper East Show today, Emmanuel Wullingdool, Agriculture Policy Consultant, explained that generally, trade within the sub-region would be affected. Mr. Wullingdool specified that two major agriculture commodities; tomatoes and onions, would suffer the most from this new development.

“If you look at the GDP of these countries, it comes to almost 54 billion dollars. Comparing this to Ghana, which is about 77 billion, one may say Ghana is a larger economy, so a smaller economy leaving would not impact it, but we need to go behind the numbers. In terms of specific products, like onions and tomatoes, these are things that Burkina Faso and Niger are very good at. So put these together, and their breakaway would pose serious implications for Ghana,” he said.

The possible instability in trade, Mr. Wullingdool says, is the reason he’s always argued that Ghana needs practical measures to help make the country self-sufficient when it comes to agricultural produce.

The agricultural policy consultant called on the government to quickly take steps to boost the production of the two agric commodities.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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