The 22nd meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of senior officials and Experts (ICE) for West Africa on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 began in Harbel, Margibi County.
The session is being held under the theme, “Demographic Dynamics for Sustainable Development in West Africa: Challenges and Policy Measures.”
It is the 22nd West African meeting of the ICE that is taking place on a roundtable in plenary sessions, during which reports drafted by the bureau and communications from experts are being tabled, and discussed as well as marked by the entry of the United Nations, African Union and the Economy Community of West African States (ECOWAS) reforms.
It is also marked by the continuation in planning, by States aiming at improving a slow-paced development despite the decade of economic growth in the West African countries.
The meeting is taking into consideration recent developments likely to impact socioeconomic development in West African countries, with a view to identify major challenges to be addressed, and to propose guidelines for accelerating sustainable development in West Africa through the transformation of the economies in the sub-region.
Delegates will review the report on implementing the Sub-Regional Office-West Africa (SRO-WA) Work Program in 2018, and prospects for 2019, the Report on the Regional Profile of West Africa and the Report on Progress in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in West Africa.
The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah, expressed the hope that the participants will make strong recommendations in terms of education, agriculture and finances.
Tweah added, “I call for an advocacy for these recommendations at the level of the parliaments so that participants can have an impact on the national polices.”
Bakary Dosso, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Director for West Africa, said the theme of this year’s meeting is justified by a strategic choice to include demographic dynamics for development, which is the new area of specialization.
Secondly, Dosso said the West African region is at the forefront of issues related to population dynamics and development as well as being guided by the current momentum.
“There is a worldwide agenda to identify and seize the windows of opportunity of demographic dividend in Africa,” said Mr. Dosso.
He added, “The region is home to 377 million people, 30 percent of Africa’s population in 2018. It is the most populated region of the continent growing at a pace of 2.7 percent per annum. It will double every 25 years, Ceteris Paribus.”
Pa Lamin Beyai, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) representative in Liberia, recalled how the challenges are enormous in the sub-region, but the United Nations, working as one in each of the countries, is ready to support the government to benefit from the demographic dividend.
For that to happen, the progress made in regional integration needs to be sustained in the short, medium, and long terms ensuring that youthful population is a true force for development, peace, and security.