Jan 30, 2013, 10:32 AM
The first National Workshop on ECOWAS Cross Border Cooperation, aimed at strengthening cross border cooperation in the border regions of The Gambia, which ended at the Baobab Holiday Resort in Bijilo, is indeed timely.
The ECOWAS sanctioned two-day meeting brought together parliamentarians, civil society representatives and local government authorities, among others, with the aim of bringing regional integration process and local populations closer together.
The forum is not only important but also timely as it came at a time when sub-regional integration preoccupies the national agenda of the respective member states of the organisation.
It's worth mentioning that the current situation faced by each border region needed the co-operation of all the member states of the sub-regional organisation.
The issue of de-marginalising border areas, reducing poverty and to achieve rapid socio-economic development and integration in the sub-region are serious areas that need consideration. Free movement of people is still difficult in certain boarder posts.
Even in the much-talked about African integration, ECOWAS could serve as a typical example for other regional groupings in the African continent. For this to happen, the people of the sub-region must work together with clear vision of transforming the ECOWAS region.
We were made to understand that the Banjul Meeting is also aimed at sensitising participants on the operational modalities and implementation strategies of the programme, as well as informing them of the various cross-border cooperation initiatives undertaken in the pilot operation zones. This is a step in the right direction, and thus fitting.
We therefore call on the concerned authorities to ensure that the resolutions and outcome of the retreat is being implemented for the betterment of the region, most importantly those at the boarders.
Once more, we congratulate ECOWAS for the efforts they have been making towards the integration of the sub-region.
The sub-regional grouping should ensure that the civil society is given prominence, that’s to say they should work hand-in-glove with them, as they are also a very important actors in development.