An optimal road transportation model to facilitate free trade in the ECOWAS sub-region: A case study of Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso

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Ecowas, as part of its key policies, promotes free trade among member countries. The benefits devised from this policy, though immense, cannot be fully realized by member countries if there is no free movement of goods and services. Thus, the need for an efficient and cost-effective transportation system. This is what we termed as an optimal road transportation model. The paper therefore, sought to identify the most efficient road transportation routes in terms of shortest distance that could be used to facilitate free trade in the sub region, what are the main challenges facing the road transportation in the ECOWAS sub-region and how these have impacted the free trade among the member states. Therefore, to achieve optimality, the paper employed two algorithms, Simplex method and the Dijkstra’s algorithm. The paper considered road networks in four member countries namely; Ghana, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. These road networks comprised of both inter and intra routes among these countries on which these algorithms were built to come up with an optimal road transportation system. The model and the Dijkstra’s algorithm were able to come up with a network model that could enhance movement from one country to another. For instance, if there were goods being transported from Nigeria to Cote D’Ivoire through Togo and Ghana they would take these routes: Kara - Sokode - Atakpame - Tsevie - Lome - Aflao -Tema - Accra - Capecoast -Takoradi - Elubo - Abidjan - Divo - Yamuousskro - Bouake - Korhogo – Kaouara in Cote D’Ivoire,
Thesis submitted to the Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University, in partial fulfillment of Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems, April 2018
ECOWAS, road transportation model, transportation, international trade, Ghana, Togo, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso