ECOWAS Regional Integrated Human Capital Development Strategy Launched

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ECOWAS Regional Integrated Human Capital Development Strategy
ECOWAS Regional Integrated Human Capital Development Strategy
Spining

Determined to significantly improve human development indices in West Africa, the Nigeria National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Prof. Oluyemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission, organised an international forum to launch Nigeria’s Integrated Regional Human Capital Development Strategy and the Integrated Regional Human Capital Development Strategy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The event took place on Thursday 23 June 2022 in Abuja, Nigeria.

In his keynote address, Prof. Osinbajo stressed that human capital is at the heart of all actions of governments, the private sector and civil society in the region. According to him, the biggest investment and the major objective would be to focus on the development of human capital, namely health, education, quality training, and the employment of the West African population, a population that is both the youngest and the fastest growing in the world.

Prof. OSINBAJO recalled the establishment by President Muhammadu Buhari of the Nigeria National Economic Council (NEC) comprising the governors of the thirty-six (36) states of the Federation, the Minister of the Federal Capital, the Minister of Finance, the Deputy Minister of Budget and Planning and the Governor of the Central Bank. He welcomed the achievement of this key step, which is the development of the national strategic document, the implementation of which will significantly improve the standard of living of the population.

For H.E. Mrs Finda E.M. Koroma, Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission, the joint launch of the two strategies represents an initiative of great symbolic importance for regional integration and a sign of our Member States’ common awareness of the need to work towards achieving “ECOWAS of the people: peace and prosperity for all” as stipulated in the ECOWAS Vision 2050.

In her address at the International Forum, H.E. Mrs Finda E.M. Koroma presented the worrying situation in which the member countries of the West African Regional Organisation find themselves. The situation is characterised by (i) the vulnerability of the ECOWAS region to external shocks which remains high, especially due to the primary sector’s excessive dependence on the income of the population and member states, (ii) the low diversification of the economies due to the sectors with low added value. “Socially, the region has high population growth, a high concentration of young people, a high level of illiteracy, a high level of inequality and gender disparity, disproportionate unemployment and a few basic social services”, said Vice-President Finda E.M. Koroma.

She further added that the various challenges bordering on insecurity, health, inflation, illegal migration, and climate change have a serious impact on the future of the region and need to be addressed, hence the adoption of the ECOWAS Vision 2050 to stimulate strategies and programmes in response to the above regional challenges.

“Therefore, to bridge the current human capital gaps in the region and prepare the region to leverage the demographic dividends of its population, the ECOWAS Commission, together with other international development partners and Member States, developed the Integrated Human Capital Development Strategy (IHCD) for the ECOWAS region in order to make the region the best regional economic community in terms of human capital development by 2030,” said H.E. Finda Koroma.

Major addresses were also delivered at the regional forum, which include addresses by Mr Nuno Gomes Nabiam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau; Dr Mohammed Juldeh Jalloh, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the Republic of Sierra Leone represented by Dr Austin Demby, Minister of Health; Mrs Zeinab Hamed, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance; H.E. Babacar Matar Ndiaye, Ambassador of Senegal to Nigeria and ECOWAS; His Imperial Majesty Ooni Enitan Adeyeye Babatunde Akande Ogunwusi, OONI OF IFE; and speeches by the representatives of the United Kingdom Commonwealth Office, the World Bank and the Aliko Dangote and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations.

They all welcomed the initiative of ECOWAS and Nigeria for these two important documents and pledged the involvement of their respective countries or organisations in the implementation of the two strategies for the welfare of the West African people.

This important ceremony was attended by members of the government and executive governors of Nigerian states, ambassadors of ECOWAS Member States accredited to Nigeria and ECOWAS, several dignitaries, traditional chiefs and religious leaders in Nigeria, and officials of ECOWAS, UNICEF, and the Nigeria National Economic Council.

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