Top officials from Ghana and Nigeria to meet amid trade spat, border closure

Cabinet members of the Nigerian and Ghanaian governments will meet today during the Economic Community of West African States summit

nigeria ghana border

Photo: Boureima Hama/AFP/Getty

Cabinet members of the Nigerian and Ghanaian governments will meet today during the Economic Community of West African States summit to discuss Nigeria’s decision to close its land borders for trade until at least the end of January.

Nigeria’s borders were partially closed in August to deal with a rice smuggling problem along its shared border with Benin. AS the issue did not subside, local Nigerian traders were pushed into bankruptcy, triggering the full border closure. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has prioritised agricultural independence and requested the central bank halt the provision of foreign exchange for food imports.

This trade dispute tests the new reality of the incoming African Continental Free Trade Area, which necessitates that member states strengthen customs cooperation. Nigeria and its neighbours will use this issue as motivation to better enact these provisions in the future, with implementation agreements with Niger and Benin to soon be drawn.

Today’s discussions will see Ghanaian officials present a cabinet-to-cabinet modality agreement between the two states as the closure has negatively affected Ghanaian traders. The officials will ask ECOWAS to engage with Nigeria as they seek to protect the West African Economic Integration Project and the viability of the AfCTA.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.