Abuja 11th May 2018. In order to realize the vision of an empowered, economically liberated community of people, there must now be a renewed focus on industrialization and the creation of jobs for the citizens who occupy of the West African region.
This disclosure was made on the 11th of May 2018 by the Vice President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Mrs. Finda Koroma at the 13th meeting of the Strategic Planning Coordinating Committee (SPCC) holding in Abuja, Nigeria from the 9th to 12th of May 2018.
Declaring the meeting open, madam Vice President who spoke on behalf of the Commission’s President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, emphasized that the focus on industrialization should be done through value addition and light manufacturing while building the critical economic and social infrastructure necessary for the improvement of intra-regional trade.
Maintaining that the meeting marks the commencement of a process leading to the development of an ECOWAS Post 2020 Vision document, Vice President Koroma said: “the development of a long term vision document is an important initiative that must be undertaken by ECOWAS in order to respond appropriately to our sub-regional developmental challenges and to ensure that our people realize fully the political, economic and social benefits of the regional integration agenda of ECOWAS”
According to her, the rationale of the new Vision is the enhancement of economic integration through trade, investment and the commercialization of agriculture.
Apart from promoting investments in key sectors that will create employment and wealth for community citizens, she noted that the Vision document being worked on must also critically examine how the ECOWAS Commission will contribute to the socio-economic well-being of the people of West Africa so that challenges such as illegal migration, poverty, high illiteracy level, extremist violence and outbreak of epidemics like Ebola and other contagious diseases will be eliminated from the region.
Stressing the importance of consultations for a robust outcome, the Vice President encouraged working collaboratively with all ECOWAS institutions and specialized agencies, the private sector and civil society organisations, women and youth groups, donors and development partners, academia as well as Member States.
This she said will help deliver “a comprehensive Vision document that is not only acceptable to all but reflect the desires of the people of West African for an improvement in their living conditions”.
Welcoming the participants earlier, the Technical Adviser to the ECOWAS Commission President on Institutional reforms Mrs. Henrietta Didigu described the meeting as extremely important in giving a strategic direction to the ECOWAS planning processes.
She noted that the exercise is not about changing an already defined vision but with the benefits of evolving trends, it is always necessary to see how the current vision can be tweaked a little for the good of the people who inhabit the ECOWAS region.
In a key note address, the Head, Organizational Development Unit of Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Mr. Franck-Emery Mongbe maintained that as partner to ECOWAS in the strategic visioning process, the GIZ is confident that the 13th SPCC meeting would help meet its main objective which include defining a process for the next ECOWAS Vision as well setting the criteria for Prioritization of ECOWAS Programmes.
He spoke of the need to “look at our past” when working on a new ECOWAS vision maintaining that over the years, even where there were erroneous steps and approaches in defining strategies for the ECOWAS Community, it ought to be used as “lessons to inform and perfect this time the process of developing a Vision for the People and by the People of ECOWAS”
The SPCC provides a platform for ECOWAS Institutions and Agencies of the Commission to deliberate and share experiences relating to strategic planning and result based management, among others.