The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, has called for proposals from stakeholders aimed at improving communication and cooperation for coordinated implementation of regional programmes in Member States.
“Enhancing the coordination and synergy of actions by various actors in the Community is essential in ensuring the coherent implementation of Community programmes,” Ouédraogo said in a speech Thursday at the opening of the seventh annual Retreat of officials from the ECOWAS Commission and Community institutions, at Uyo, the capital of the South South Akwa Ibom State.
Describing the retreat as an extension of the ongoing stakeholders’ dialogue, Ouédraogo said the first session under the present management would have an added dimension of providing an opportunity for insight into “huge regional integration projects” for the realization of the dream of the founding fathers for the socio-economic integration of the region.
He said the projects were an expression of the region’s commitment to “accelerate the realisation of a developed and integrated West Africa supported not only by dense and complementary infrastructure reinforced by the creation of an enabling regional environment while increasing the capacity for resilience of their economies.”
Through the platform provided by the retreat, the ECOWAS chief said stakeholders would “outline the different response strategies being deployed to address the current challenges confronting the region” which require concerted action.
Declaring the meeting open, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state urged the stakeholders to work towards accelerating the region’s integration, saying the move held the key to regional economic development and safeguarding the welfare of the citizens since none of the 15 Member States could go it alone.
Citing the experience of the European Union which is vigorously pursuing its integration project despite the superior economic status of its member states, the governor said this should serve as evidence for West Africa on the value of the enterprise.
The annual retreat brings together officials from the ECOWAS Commission, Community Institutions, Permanent and Special Representatives and Heads of National Units, the focal points for ECOWAS activities in Member States.
The retreat, the first to be attended by the governor of a State, also had in attendance the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and the President of the Community Court of Justice, Mrs. Nana Awa Daboya.