#Article (Archive)

Ziguinchor to host sub-regional meeting on trade, regional integration

Jul 28, 2015, 11:34 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

A high-profile sub-regional meeting on trade and regional integration for ECOWAS countries including Senegal, Guinea Bissau and The Gambia is scheduled to take place from 29 July to 2 August 2015, at Ziguinchor in the southern Senegalese region of Cassamance.

The meeting, organised by ENDA-CACID, will bring together representatives from governments, customs departments, chambers of commerce such as GCCI, ministries of trade, members of the private sector, civil society and the press, to discuss ECOWAS protocols dealing with free movement of people and goods within the sub-region.

The meeting will also bring together key regional integration players from West Africa to evaluate the process of integration to develop joint projects and facilitate dialogue.

The specific objective is to provide a framework for West African civil society to jointly assess their actions for integration, and to provide a framework for multi-stakeholder dialogue among ECOWAS states, members of the private sector and civil society actors.

The meeting will also focus on establishing the Network of Southern Senegambia actors for the free movement of goods and people (RASLIC), commissioning and launching of the first “ECOWAS Citizens’ House” and the Centre for Information and Documentation on Regional Integration and Development (CIDIR).

The participants consist of the institutions and states such as Senegal, The Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau, Ministries of Trade, Customs, and Ministries in charge of integration, ECOWAS Department for trade, industry and macroeconomic policies.

There will also be civil society organizations such as POSCAO, ROPPA, WACSOF, REPAOC, and WAWA.

“For years, the development and implementation of integration and development policies in West Africa have been left in the hands of public authorities at national and regional levels. This concept of governance has shown its limitations,” a statement by the organisers ENDA-CACID said.

“The opening and democratization of spaces and citizen participation in the development of integration policies (commercial, agricultural, industrial, etc.) are needed to build governance for economic and social development in Africa.”

The projects that Enda-CACID and its partners want to launch in the southern Senegambia Area aim to create the conditions for sub-regional dynamics to mobilize civil society actors, farmers, socio-professional organizations, associations, private sector actors, national and local politicians, as well as the governments of Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau around the free movement of goods and people in West Africa.