Africa Practice

Regulatory engagement in ECOWAS

An international FMCG firm imports a variety of products into a dozen countries across the ECOWAS region. Following the adoption of a new Common External Tariff (CET) regime by all ECOWAS member states, the company’s products were reclassified into a higher tariff band, which the company had not anticipated and would have a significant negative impact on the business. Africa Practice was retained to establish whether it was still possible for the client to engage ECOWAS on the reclassification of its products prior to the implementation of the new band or whether it was more appropriate to engage national governments around the ratification of the directive and/or implementation of the new tariff bands at national level.

Africa Practice provided insights into the motivations of the key players and context on the broader policy agenda which shaped the CET. We set out the stakes for the company in terms of the commercial implications of the re-classification of its products and provided clear strategic recommendations on the appropriate ways for the company to engage key ECOWAS and national government stakeholders and make its case persuasively. We developed an internal position paper to guide the client’s public affairs engagement with selected stakeholders and developed messaging for use in external communications.

Our recommendations were adopted by the client and legislation was eventually passed which was acceptable to the client. The company continues to perform strongly.