Nov 6, 2014, 11:59 AM
Basse is set to host this year’s Sub-Regional weeklong youth festival from 21 to 28 December 2015 with the theme “Community participation and involvement in the quest to strengthen sub-regional peace, security, trade, integration and development”.
According to the Governor, who doubles as the chairman of all sub-committees, this year’s event will be different from the previous ones held in Basse as they now have a lot of sporting facilities which can accommodate the sports activities which are a key and important area of the programme.
Governor Ceesay pointed out that the event could not hold last year due to the Ebola crisis in the sub-region.
Governor Omar Sampo Ceesay said SAFRA is a French acronym meaning “Week of Friendship and Fraternity” and has a membership of the following ECOWAS states that are represented by their various regions that border each other such as The Gambia-Basse, Senegal-Tamba Counda, Guinea Bissau-Gabou, Guinea Conakry-Boke, Mali-Kaye, and Mauritania-Sylebabeh.
SAFRA has been in existence for over thirty years and has brought together people in the sub-region to participate in conferences/meetings, symposia, trade fairs, sports, cultural activities, school exchange programmes/study tours among others since its inception in order to craft awareness and recognition at the proletariat for a greater community participation and involvement in ECOWAS integration progression of the sub-region.
For the past five (5) years, Governor Ceesay said, SAFRA activities and programmes have immensely reduced as result of “less political will”, institutional capacity building, funding constraints and technical backup that impeded the participation and involvement of decision makers, national and international agencies and other key development players, which has reduced the organization’s goal from 100% to 45%.
With those significant setbacks it arouses their attention to re-activate, re-think and re-adjust their interventions and programmes to be in line with current world development agenda that will address the above-mentioned sub-regional and global issues to effect positive changes in order to capture their lost glory, he went on.
“These new approaches will fully commit the political will of our various governments and other viable agencies in the spirit of sub-regional integration,” he stated.
The envisaged milestone will manifest the goal of SAFRA and will surely showcase the image of the initiative in the sub-region and the globe as an issue of concern that warrants immediate action and re-shaping.
SAFRA will complement the efforts of the African Union and ECOWAS, he added.