Jun 19, 2009, 6:25 AM
Jobe, the Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment has
underscored the cordial relationship that exists between Gambia and Senegal,
arguing that regional integration can’t work anywhere if it failed within the
“Regional integration is a very core mandate of the ECOWAS commission. Regional Integration, I feel has to start here in The Gambia, by that I mean The Gambia and Senegal were so closely related that regional integration, if it failed within the Senegambia region, it can’t work anywhere else in ECOWAS,” he said.
Minister Jobe was speaking yesterday during the opening of day long national consultation on ECOWAS post vision 2020 development under the theme; towards peace and borderless region held at The Gambia Hotel School.
Officials said the national consultation is meant to initiate discussions on the ECOWAS Vision 2020 with the view to assessing achievements and challenges so as to map out effective strategies for the ‘West Africa we want to see’ in the next 25-50 years.
The long-time vision of ECOWAS, he said, is to create a ‘borderless, peaceful, prosperous and cohesive region’, built on good governance and where people have the capacity to access and harness its enormous resources through the creation of the opportunities for sustainable development and environmental preservation.
He added: “Creating a borderless ECOWAS of the people and accelerating socio-economic development in West Africa can hardly be attained without regional integration. That requires collective action by all community members.”
ECOWAS, he continued, has been promoting economic cooperation and regional integration for accelerated development of the West African economy since its inception on May 28, 1975.
The Trade Minister said: “As we formulate a new roadmap for a post-2020 vision for ECOWAS, it is important to gather contributions, views and concerns on the process of regional integration and to assess its contribution and impact on the daily lives of the people.”
Kebba K. Barrow, majority leader of the National Assembly dwelled on the significance of the forum, saying that environmental degradation is a concern to the ECOWAS region.
‘The ECOWAS commission is working very hard to ensure that the social cohesion and the integration process that have been alluded to in 1975 which is now developed and centred on people.”
The forum, he went on, will avail the participants the opportunity to come out and have their say in what is going to be developed in the next ECOWAS vision. The majority leader urged the participants to be committed and share their views in terms of youth employment, creating job opportunity for young people and also look at the environment which he said is vital in the society.
ECOWAS vision 2020, he said, is aimed at transforming ECOWAS from an ‘ECOWAS of States’ where the integration process is dominated by governments and its agents to an ‘ECOWAS of the People’ which would place the population at the epicentre of the integration process.