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General News of Thursday, 25 February 2021


ECOWAS commended for progressive grassroots initiatives

Participants at the opening ceremony of ECOWAS meeting with traditional and religious leaders Participants at the opening ceremony of ECOWAS meeting with traditional and religious leaders

The minister-designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has commended ECOWAS for its recent, continuous efforts at bringing activities and the day-to-day workings of the Community closer to the grassroots in the region.

She said that with the hitherto erroneous impressions created about the Community as “belonging to bureaucrats and politicians without the involvement of the grassroots”, its recent activities that involve the general populace is a commendable one.

“You are aware that hitherto ECOWAS had been seen, and rightly so, as the Community which has lost touch with the citizenry. ECOWAS was basically viewed as a Community belonging to bureaucrats and politicians without the involvement of the grassroots.

“I am happy that collectively we are taking commendable steps to correct this wrong impression about ECOWAS. I am of the firm conviction that this meeting and subsequent engagements with other stakeholders will lead to outcomes which will contribute to the formulation of attainable and relevant objectives for the region,” she said.

She made this known during the opening ceremony of the Consultative Meeting with Traditional and Religious Leaders on ECOWAS Vision 2050, at Kyebi, in the Eastern region.

The ceremony which was attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was part of the agenda to promote the revised ECOWAS Vision 2020, the development blueprint for the transformation of West Africa into a borderless, peaceful, and prosperous region, which is now referred to as ECOWAS Vision 2050.

The processes to fashion out the ECOWAS Vision 2050 commenced in January 2019 and this meeting is part of that ongoing process.

“The ECOWAS Vision 2050 envisions a borderless, peaceful, prosperous, cohesive region, built on good governance, where the citizenry has the capacity to access and harness the region’s enormous resources through the creation of opportunities for sustainable development and environmental preservation.

“The realization of this noble vision depends to a large extent on local actions taken by our Community citizens with the support of our Traditional and Religious leaders who are the custodians of our societal norms. To effectively support these local actions, it is important to forge partnerships with relevant stakeholders including Your Royal Majesties and our Eminent Religious leaders in view of your extensive outreach and presence in the region,” she said.

According to the Okyenhene, His Royal Majesty Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, their involvement in these activities show what a positive role they contribute to the socio-economic development of the Region.

“It is a solid and glorifying tribute to the positive role that traditional authority can play in the social and economic uplift of our people and the many ways it can contribute towards the goal of national progress and prosperity,” he said.

He lamented that while the sub-region is blessed with enormous resources, it is rather sad that the inability to harness them has plunged its people into poverty and hopelessness.

“The Economic Community of West African States hosts the largest economic and political union in Africa and has the responsibility to set an example for the rest of the continent and the whole of the developing world.

“The Sub Region abounds with enormous resources: minerals, forestry, freshwater, marine, a diversified climate that supports all kinds of plants and livestock production, cash-crop agriculture potential of all types including ecotourism.

“However, despite these enormous opportunities much attention has not been paid in harnessing the enormous resources of the Sub Region with the consequence that the people of the Sub Region are thrown into the abyss of mass poverty, hopelessness and degradation.

“These vast opportunities are hampered by persistent gaps in education, health, and skills, but most importantly bad governance which has left the Sub Region reaching a minimal 40% of its estimated potentials,” he said

He was therefore hopeful that this step by the ECOWAS will mark the establishment of a continuous integration of chieftaincy into governance.

“ECOWAS VISION 2050 looks at the sub-region in the next thirty years. Today must be a starting point of throwing away the colonial cultural yoke by ensuring a far-reaching measure that will integrate Chieftaincy into the governance process of all the fifteen member countries,” he stressed.