The Government of Ghana is committed to the regional integration process and the implementation of various protocols and policies of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to improve upon the living standards of its people.
Mr Charles Owiredu, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has said.
He in this regard, assured that the government was working tirelessly to position the country to easily access as many benefits as possible that ECOWAS presented.
He was addressing participants at the opening of a two-day sensitisation workshop in Cape Coast, on the implementation of ECOWAS protocols and conventions.
He said government was eager to support Ghanaians to explore opportunities in the sub-region with the aim of fulfilling the country’s agenda to create jobs for its people.
The workshop is the first in the series of workshops to be organised across the country as a sequel to the ECOWAS national stakeholder consultation for the evaluation of ECOWAS vision 2020.
This, Mr Owiredu explained, was in a bid to assess the achievements and challenges of ECOWAS so far, particularly under its vision 2020 which was adopted about a decade ago.
He explained that the regional stakeholders workshops were aimed at improving ECOWAS visibility in the country to enable citizens better appreciate its contribution to the socio-economic development of the sub-region.
The Deputy Minister noted that despite Ghana’s frontline role within the ECOWAS sub-region, the country had not been able to maximize the numerous opportunities for the benefits of its people.
He therefore called on all stakeholders including the media to help in educating the public saying, the implementation of ECOWAS protocols could not be effective with lack of cooperation of the people stemming from lack of understanding.
The stakeholders would among other things discuss issues relating to ECOWAS history, structure, institutions and programmes, free movement of persons within the sub-region, right of residence and establishment, road transport, brown card, harmonization of axle loads, single currency among others.
These issues, according to Mr Kwamena Duncan, Central Regional Minister, were critical and ought to be dealt with adequately towards achieving the objectives of the sub-region.
“I anticipate that these issues are more than enough to trigger fruitful discussions on the subject matter for the day to assist in policy formulation and implementation,” he said in a speech read on his behalf.
He commended the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the National Development Planning Commission and relevant stakeholders for their quest in pursuing both national and international development.
Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, Omanhen of Oguaa Traditional Area who chaired the ceremony, lamented that 13 years after the launch of ECOWAS’ vision 2020 programme, very little had been done for the ordinary Ghanaian to be on board.
He noted that many Ghanaians viewed ECOWAS as a preserve for Heads of States, ministers, parliament and diplomats.
He reiterated the need for increased efforts to associate ECOWAS with the ordinary citizens, adding that regional integration of West Africa must be for the prosperity of the people of the sub-region.
“ECOWAS belongs to the people and we must give it to them,” he stressed.