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ECOWAS Citizens House inaugurated in Ziguinchor

Aug 3, 2015, 10:42 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh from Ziguinchor

Three ECOWAS member countries Senegal, Guinea Bissau and The Gambia through the African Centre for Trade, Integration and Development (ENDA CACID) with support from the government of Netherlands and ECOWAS Commission Saturday inaugurated the first-ever ECOWAS Citizens House, and centre for information and documentation on regional integration and development in Ziguinchor, Senegal.

The ECOWAS Citizens House is the first of its kind in ECOWAS member countries in West Africa to be inaugurated, to serve and facilitate the affairs of the ECOWAS citizenry in the sub-region.

The inauguration was attended by high-profile dignitaries from the ECOWAS Commission, including the director of customs at the ECOWAS Commission, Senegalese government authorities, and representatives from The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, civil society organizations, business communities and transporters, as well as various media personnel across the sub-region.

In his speech, Pierre Chapusette from Dutch Embassy in Dakar expressed delight to be associated with the inauguration of the ECOWAS Citizens House in Ziguinchor.

He explained that the project, which involves three countries - Senegal, Guinea Bissau and The Gambia - was financed by the Kingdom of Netherlands to the tune of 500 million CFA.

According to him, the aim is to promote regional integration in the sub-region among ECOWAS countries, as well as the civil society organizations and the local population in the promotion of regional integration.

He acknowledged the effort of ENDA CACID and other civil society organizations in ensuring that the ECOWAS Citizens House was realised in the sub-region, with the aim to help the ECOWAS citizens at the borders.

He expressed his impression about the level of the turnout of government authorities among member countries, civil society and the local population, which was a sign of ownership and commitment in ensuring that the ECOWAS Citizens House is here to stay to help regional integration in the sub-region.

He further commended the ECOWAS members, and advised them to keep up the momentum to ensure a real integration is realized in the sub-region for the benefit of the ECOWAS citizenry.

In his inauguration speech, the Governor of Ziguinchor, Ibrahim Saho, representing the President of Senegal, expressed appreciation to the government of The Netherlands and the ECOWAS Commission for supporting the inauguration of the first ECOWAS Citizens House in Senegal.

He stated that regional integration is possible and could be attained in the sub-region - all what is needed is commitment to ensure it happened.

He thanked ENDA CACID through its director for their commitment and efforts at ensuring that the initiative becomes a reality for the benefit of the ECOWAS citizens.

He assured ENDA CACID of the governments’ support in the promotion of regional integration, which calls for collective effort among member countries in realizing its objectives.

Also speaking at the inauguration ceremony was the Director of ENDA CACID, Dr Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, said the mission of ENDA CACID is geared towards promoting policy dialogue and consultation among stakeholders on policy development.

It was also to contribute to stakeholders’ capacity building for the development and implementation of integration and development policies serving the people; building strategic alliances and strengthening regional and international networking; generating and sharing knowledge on African realities and proposing solutions to the specific problems of Africa, he said.