The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), through its national office in Liberia, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, have climaxed two days of National Stakeholders Consultations on ECOWAS post-2020 vision in Devos Village, Tewor District, Grand Cape Mount County.
The workshop which convened from December 13-14, 2019, was held under the Theme: “Ideas for a Peaceful, Borderless and Prosperous Region”.
It aimed to gather stakeholders’ views, experience, opinions and perceptions of policies, programs, projects and activities of ECOWAS over the last ten years since the introduction of the Development Agenda for the transformation of West Africa into a Borderless, peaceful and prosperous region by the year 2020.
Assistant Minister for Development Planning, Benedict Kolubah, who proxied for Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah, explained how ECOWAS has used the 2030 vision as a tool to achieve accelerated sustainable development in West African economies through regional integration.
Assistant Minister Kolubah said the ECOWAS vision 2020 goal is to raise the living standard of the people through inclusive programs for sustainable income generation.
According to him, over the years, ECOWAS has been successful in shifting democratic governance by free, fair and transparent elections in the region, as well as conflict and crisis resolutions and prevention.
“As we move in developing the ECOWAS 2020 vision, we should consider demographic challenges of West Africa and how the population is growing fast and may pose a burden on the existing social and economic structures including health and educational facilities,” Kolubah added.
He stressed the need to build human capital so that the demographic dividend will have the potential to boost economic growth. He encouraged participants to propose programs to ECOWAS that will build human capacity and reduce dependency, mortality and fertility rates. It can be recalled that he stressed the same issues during phase one of the National Stakeholders Consultative Workshops which was held on November 22nd, 2019 in Ganta City, Nimba County, Liberia.
At the end of the consultation, participants proposed amongst many others that ECOWAS post-2020 vision should consider key priorities including; Regional security, Free movement, and trade amongst member states, Human capacity development and harmonization of school curriculum and systems, single currency regime to ease of doing business in the region and improve cross-border trade.
The two-day workshop was attended by the Assistant Minister for Development Planning, Sierra Leonean Border Contingent, senior officials in the public sector, Representatives from security agencies, Political parties, Women, youths, Academics, students, lecturers, researchers, media, Religious and Traditional leaders, civil society organization (CSO) Trade Union as well as producers umbrella organizations in Liberia.