Sep 21, 2015, 9:26 AM
The Gambia chapter of the West African Women Association (WAWA) held a sub-regional forum on the gender dimension of the free movement of people and goods within the ECOWAS region in Banjul last Tuesday.
The purpose of the forum was to draw up recommendations and actions aimed at facilitating the free movement of female cross-boarder traders among the ECOWAS member states.
Mam Sai Sanneh, president of the Gambian chapter of WAWA, gave a speech in which she reminded delegates that the 1970 economic crisis forced women in the sub-region to rely on cross-boarder trading to feed their families.
However, these women did not have good knowledge of the laws governing the free movement of people and goods. As a result, Mrs Sanneh said that some women fell foul of police and security forces during this period.
She added that despite the many bilateral and multilateral agreements signed by ECOWAS’s 15 member states, free movement of people and goods is still sometimes inhibited by security forces and customs officials as member states give priority to their own legislation.
The regional president of WAWA, Kaddy Faal, said that last week’s workshop will be the first of many joint efforts between ECOWAS and WAWA to address the issue of the free movement of people and goods within the region. She also noted that the engagement of WAWA to help promote the issue within the Sengambia and Mali sub-region will greatly assist at grassroots level.