Regional livestock trade in West Africa is suffering due to lack of policy integration and illegal cross-border “taxes”.
Livestock trade policies differ widely between countries in West Africa. Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are livestock exporting countries, and want to strengthen livestock marketing and processing and promote regional trade. Livestock importing countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria, promote policies that protect local livestock producers, boost internal production, and ensure food security in livestock products. A recently released report investigating livestock policies in six West African countries has urged that regional policies be streamlined, harmonised and implemented in a coordinated way to avoid bureaucratic bottlenecks. The report also noted that transportation of livestock across borders and illegal “taxes” represent significant additional marketing costs that impact negatively on regional livestock trade.
- In West Africa, cross-border transportation can cost a staggering 300% more than the equivalent transfer of beef from Europe to West Africa’s coast. Meantime, regional cross-border transfer of cattle costs twice as much as domestic transportation, despite better transportation infrastructures.
- Intra-regional trade in live animals attracts certain costs which are unlikely to be incurred if meat products are traded. For example, livestock drovers (people who drive herds of animals to market) are paid handling fees during the 2-3 day trip.
- Some governments in the region are not fully committed to the implementation of agreed trade policy reforms concerning trade liberalisation and facilitation, exchange and payments systems and investment facilitation. This negatively affects costs of livestock trade and regional integration.
- Illegal road taxation at numerous checkpoints can be as much as 10% of total marketing costs. Here, traders are required to make non-receipted payments to public agents for no obvious reason (see box below)
| Illegal “taxes” at checkpoints hurt regional livestock trade
Numerous checkpoints exist along the highways where non-receipted payments are systematically made to police, customs, veterinary and other officials per truckload of cattle.
Along the main cross-border trading routes, the checkpoints at Ferkessedougou and Bouake, both in Côte d’Ivoire, have the most notorious reputation, harbouring up to three different agents, namely: police, customs and gendarmerie. The checkpoint in Zegua, Mali is also reputed for frequent payments made to officials. Depending on the itinerary, total non-receipted payments can range from 12,000 FCFA on the Bittou to Accra route to 71,000 FCFA from Sikasso to Abidjan, translating respectively to 1.7 and 10.5% of cross-border marketing costs for cattle in the two routes. Illegal “taxes” between Sikasso to Abidjan are nearly twice as high as the government imposed fuel taxes for the same route.
Abolishing illegal cross border “taxes” would result in significant cost reductions and minimisation of delays that lead to deteriorating cattle health and sometimes death.
- Protocols on regional livestock trade and regional integration introduced by the Union Économique et Monétaire de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (UEMOA) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), need to be streamlined, harmonised and implemented.
- Regional livestock trade should shift its current focus from live animals to meat.
- Regulations that provide for the free movement of people and goods in the region should be implemented by reducing the number of roadside checkpoints, curbing the excesses of conveyance companies (sociétés de convoyage), and actively fighting illegal road taxation.
Report and Briefs
The full report and a set of four briefs are now available for download.
Read the complete Improvement of Livestock Marketing and Regional Trade in West Africa report: https://cgspace.cgiar.org/bitstream/10568/1572/1/CFC_Report_on_Trade_In_WAfrica_1.pdf
Brief 1: Marketing livestock in West Africa: Opportunities and constraints: Brief 1 T.O. Williams, I. Okike, I. Baltenweck and C. Delgado.
This brief summarises the discussions and major outputs from a regional workshop held in Niamey, Niger in 1999. The objective was to analyse the economic, institutional and policy constraints to livestock marketing and trade in order to provide a basis for new policy interventions to improve market efficiency and intra-regional livestock trade.
Read the complete brief: https://cgspace.cgiar.org/bitstream/10568/1593/1/WestAfrLivestock1-Eng.pdf
Brief 2: Livestock marketing channels, flows and prices in West Africa: Brief 2. I. Okike, T.O. Williams, B. Spycher, S. Staal and I. Baltenweck
Livestock markets that are strategically located along the border of neighbouring countries to ease cross-border trade were studied to identify livestock marketing channels from farm gates to terminal markets. Economic operators and livestock flows within these channels were also examined along with seasonal variations and other factors affecting livestock prices. The findings indicate that producers and operators can realise significant economic benefits by increasing meat production and livestock trade value through improved credit access and better market information.
Read the complete brief: https://cgspace.cgiar.org/bitstream/10568/1774/1/WestAfrLivestock2-Eng.pdf
Brief 3: Lowering cross-border livestock transportation and handling costs in West Africa: Brief 3. I. Okike, B. Spycher, T.O. Williams and I. Baltenweck
This brief analyses the costs incurred in the transfer of animals through the marketing chain and highlights areas where costs could be reduced for example, intra-regional trade in live animals attracts certain types of costs which are unlikely to be incurred if meat products, rather than live animals, are traded.
Read the complete brief: https://cgspace.cgiar.org/bitstream/10568/1932/1/WestAfrLivestock3-Eng.pdf
Brief 4: Promoting livestock marketing and intraregional trade in West Africa: Brief 4 I. Okike, T.O. Williams and I. Baltenweck
Livestock trade has the potential to contribute even more to foreign exchange earnings if properly promoted. The major economic, institutional and policy barriers to the realisation of the full potentials of livestock trade are identified in this brief.
Read the complete brief: https://cgspace.cgiar.org/bitstream/10568/1702/1/WestAfrLivestock4-Eng.pdf