ECOWAS COMMISSION REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR WEST AFRICAN INSTITUTE IN PRAIA
The ECOWAS Commission has reiterated its total support for the Cape Verde-based West African Institute, towards the realization of the institute’s mandate as a Think-tank on regional integration and social transformation.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Information and Communication Technology Dr. Isaias Barret Rosa and his colleague in charge of Social Affairs and Gender Dr. Fatimata Dia Sow made the pledge during a meeting in Praia on Tuesday 3rd February 2015 with the Institute’s Governing Board Chairman Engr. Jose Brito.
“We would like to reiterate our full support for the good work being done by the institute and your desire to achieve the status of a specialized agency with a level of autonomy, while maintaining the original idea and operating under the relevant ECOWAS texts,” Commissioner Rosa said.
To help overcome its present difficulties, he suggested that the institute broaden the scope of its collaboration with the private sector and universities which have a very important role to play in studies and research on regional integration.
Commissioner Sow expressed a similar sentiment, and urged the regional institute to assist the Commission in generating important background information, data and statistics that will add value to the effective implementation of its programmes and activities, ensure a better understanding of the principle behind regional integration and for the improvement of the lives of community citizens.
She also encouraged the institute to identify directorates of the Commission that it could use as entry point in maximizing collaboration and support from the Commission.
The Chairman briefed the ECOWAS delegation on the Institute’s history, achievements, challenges and perspectives, and welcomed the visit as a reassuring gesture of solidarity by the Commission.
Engr. Brito, a former Foreign Minister of Cape Verde identified inadequate funding and limited capacity as the Institute’s major constraints.
He agreed to take on board the suggestions by the delegation for the diversification of collaboration and partnerships by the institute with agencies of similar objectives and financial institutions for funding.
The chairman urged support for the institute’s quest to “make a difference with intellectual and financial autonomy,” which he said would enable it to offer dispassionate and unbiased recommendations to strengthen policy formulation and implementation of impactful programmes that will advance ECOWAS’ development and regional integration agenda.
The institute was created jointly by ECOWAS, UNESCO, UEMOA, Ecobank and the Government of Cape Verde. The Government gave the legal backing for the creation of the institute in 2010, and ECOWAS has remained its major funder.
Madam Djeneba Traore is the institute’s current Director General, while Engr. Brito, who works on a voluntary basis, chairs the governing board made up of representatives from the ECOWAS 15 Member States.
The ECOWAS delegation which is in Praia to present the Commission’s humanitarian assistance to Cape Verde in the aftermath of the volcanic eruption on Fogo Island, one of the ten islands that make up the fast developing country of some 500,000 population, includes Mr. Paul Ejime of the Communication Directorate, Mr. Adamu Obeche of the Humanitarian Affairs Directorate and Mr. David Oduyingbo also of the Communication Directorate.
The team also visited the Praia-based ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) and Cape Verde’s Institute for Gender and Equality, as well as held talks with Government and UN officials among its other engagements after presenting a cheque of US$300,000 to the Government to assist victims of the volcanic eruption.
Directorate of Communication