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ECOWAS-Banjul meeting discusses Community Development Programme

Jul 27, 2011, 2:10 PM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

A four-day follow-up meeting on Civil Society Organisations’ contribution to West Africa’s process of formulating an ECOWAS Community Development Programme commenced on 25 July at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mod Secka, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance, who represented his minister, said: “This workshop truly reflects the strong and continued commitment of the ECOWAS Commission towards successful regional integration of its member states and to ensure a sustainable implementation of the Community Development Programme as envisaged in its Vision 2020.”

The Gambia senior civil servant said the agenda for the regional integration process is critical to the region’s collective efforts at strengthening the foundations for a stable and prosperous Africa.

ECOWAS Member States have been consolidating efforts towards regional integration in areas ranging from trade and industry to agriculture, infrastructure, investment and the development of natural and human resources.

Mr Secka said: “ECOWAS has made significant progress to integrate the West African community, especially with regard to the free movement of goods and people, interventions in conflict resolution and agricultural policy.

“In spite of its many registered achievements on the one hand, the challenge of full economic integration in the sub-region as well as their integration into global markets on the other hand remain largely unresolved.

“Thus to ensure overcoming these challenges, the Summit of Heads of State and Government that convened in 2006, decided to transform the Executive Secretariat of ECOWAS into a Commission. The Summit also adopted a mission statement, known as Vision 2020 which outlined the following major objectives to be achieved by the year 2020.”

In order to successfully operationalise the objectives of the Vision 2020, ECOWAS was tasked with accomplishing the four main goals of integration, namely a free trade zone, a customs union, a common market and an economic and monetary union.

The Finance PS said the Commission has also established the Peace and Security Council, which is another important milestone in current efforts to promote peace, stability and good governance in the West Africa Region, “which are crucial” towards ending devastating conflicts that have increased poverty levels and displaced massive numbers of people throughout Africa.

“It is within this backdrop that the ECOWAS Commission was mandated by the Authority of Heads of State and Government to formulate the Community Development Programme (CDP) in order to ensure successful implementation of its Vision 2020,” PS Secka noted.

“The CDP is meant to serve as a platform of cooperation among the various departments of the Commission to promote sub-regional development and establish a framework of cohesion for ECOWAS programmes as well as development programmes initiated by other sub-regional institutions.”

He continued: “The overall strategy of the Community Development Programme is summarised as the ‘Integration of People within the ECOWAS region.’ The Community Development Programme seeks to ensure a greater involvement of the people of the Region, for better ownership of programmes initiated by the Region.”

Since the effective implementation of the CDP process is a collective responsibility, which makes it imperative for all member states and individuals to play their roles, PS Secka therefore urged all stakeholders to actively participate in all sessions to successfully ensure that the expected deliverables and outcomes of the meeting are fully achieved.

He commended the institutions that took part in the workshop, saying the Gambia government and his ministry pledge their continued support and commitment to working with the ECOWAS Commission towards the sustainable realisation of the goals and objectives of the CDP and ultimately the Vision 2020.

Professor Lambert N’Galadjo Bamba, Commissioner for Macroeconomic Policy, ECOWAS, on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission, conveyed thanks to the Government and people of The Gambia for agreeing to host the meeting, at which other international personalities, such as Hon. Mme Khady Fall Tall and Momodou Sissoko, made succinct presentations.