The government is committed to the regional integration process and the implementation of various protocols and policies to improve the living standards of the people.
Mr Charles Owiredu, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said the government was working to ensure that the country was positioned to access as many benefits as possible.
He was addressing participants at the opening of a two-day sensitisation workshop on the implementation of ECOWAS protocols and conventions in Cape Coast on Thursday.
He said the government was eager to support Ghanaians to explore opportunities in the sub-region to fulfil the country’s agenda to create jobs for its people.
The workshop, 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.
The Deputy Minister noted that despite Ghana’s frontline role within the ECOWAS sub-region, the country was not able to maximize the many opportunities for the benefits of its people.
He explained that the regional stakeholders’ workshops were aimed at improving ECOWAS visibility in the country to enable citizens to better appreciate its contribution to the socio-economic development of the sub-region.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders, including the media to help in educating the public.
He said 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, Mr Kwamena Duncan said 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 of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the National Development Planning Commission and relevant stakeholders for their pursuit of both national and international development.
Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, Omanhen of Oguaa Traditional Area, who chaired the ceremony said 13 years after the launch of ECOWAS’ vision 2020 programme, very little was done to bring ordinary Ghanaians on board.
He noted that many Ghanaians viewed ECOWAS as a preserved 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.