Supporting regional trade integration between Niger and Nigeria

Regional integration is a development priority for Africa. All Africans, not just policy makers and decision makers, have a role to play in making integration a reality for the continent. Regional integration is about getting things moving freely across the whole of Africa. This means getting goods to move more easily across borders; transport, energy and telecommunications to connect more people across more boundaries; people to move more freely across frontiers, and capital and production to move and grow beyond national limits. The main objective of pursuing trade and market integration in Africa is to boost intra-African trade and investments (see Africa Regional Integration Index Report 2016). When trade flows are faster and more cost-effective, business and consumers in the regions benefit as it creates employment, industrial linkages, economic diversification and structural transformation that, by extension, generate sustainable development on the continent (see UNECA – Trade and market integration).

In this context, the  new Kano-Jigawa-Daura-Zinder cross-border development corridor was launched in Dutse, Nigeria on 29 September 2016. The aim is to improve cross-border trade and food security and to strengthen economic integration between Niger and Nigeria. The corridor should boost the economies of the two countries by improving cross-border flows of agro-pastoral products and facilitating linkages between development poles and transportation systems.

The IFAD-financed Family Farming Development Programme (ProDAF) in Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder Regions has provided technical and financial support to this initiative. The Programme’s objective is to sustainably increase the income of 240,000 family farms, their resilience to external shocks, including climate change, and their access to local, urban and regional markets in the three regions. More specifically, ProDAF is working to facilitate cross-border trade, increase knowledge about cross-border trade constraints and propose and test solutions with economic operators. These activities are carried out in partnership with the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation, as well as consular trade offices, economic operators and professional organizations. ProDAF is currently seeing how they can collaborate with the Climate Change Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme in the Savannah Belt in Nigeria in supporting the development of the new cross-border trade corridor.