Abuja, Nigeria – From April 11 to 15, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Nigeria, in partnership with the West Africa Borderless Alliance, hosted a road governance caravan on the southern segment of the Lagos-Kano-Jibiya (LAKAJI) transport corridor. The caravan started in Lagos, passed through Ogun and Oyo, and concluded in Kwara state.
The road governance caravan is an advocacy platform, which aims to remove non-tariff barriers to enhance the competitiveness of the LAKAJI corridor. Throughout the week, leading agricultural producers, traders, transporters, and financiers proposed and advocated for systemic and practical improvements to the movement of goods, transport, capital, and services across Nigeria.
“High shipping costs and long transit times are real disincentives to doing business in Nigeria,” said USAID/Nigeria Director Michael T. Harvey. “Reducing the time and cost of shipping goods on the LAKAJI corridor can serve as a boon for much needed investment,” he added.
In 2013, USAID conducted a baseline study on the LAKAJI corridor. The study revealed that it costs over $3,000 and takes approximately 12.5 days to send a 20-foot container from Jibiya in northern Nigeria to Lagos in the southwest. Conversely, it costs nearly $5,000 and takes approximately 19.5 days to ship a 20-foot container from Lagos to Jibiya. The higher cost to transport goods along the corridor is largely due to the lengthy clearance time and associated costs at the Lagos port. The overall cost and delivery times along the Lagos-Kano-Jibiya corridor are significantly greater than similar corridors in West Africa.
The caravan’s participants included truck drivers; ministry/department/agency officials; Nigerian Shippers’ Council; the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture; civil society organizations; the Federal Road Safety Corps; and the National Association of Nigerian Traders.
Since 2013, USAID has supported strategies to improve Nigeria’s trade competitiveness through efforts such as the road governance caravan. USAID also provides technical assistance to the Nigerian Customs Service through its trade and transport program.