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Stakeholders in Upper West learn about ECOWAS Protocol

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Social Ecowas Workshop
Social Ecowas Workshop

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has held a workshop for stakeholders in the Upper West Region to sensitise them on the protocols of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The initiative, in partnership with the Media Response, a Non-Governmental Organisation,
to deepen their knowledge on those protocols and the activities of the regional bloc in general.

It aims to offer an opportunity to state and non-state actors to appreciate the pivotal role ECOWAS played in the development and integration of the sub-region and Africa as a whole.

Addressing participants at the opening of the workshop, Ambassador Perpetual Dufu, the Coordinating Director/Multilateral and International Organisations at the Ministry, indicated that the regional bloc had assumed the responsibility to ensure that its people appreciated the potential benefit of ECOWAS with a successful regional integration.

Representatives of traditional and religious leaders, Civil Society Organisations, students, security agencies and the media participated in the workshop, the third in a series for this year and the second for the Upper West Region after a similar one was held in the Nandom Municipality in May 2023.

They were taken through the ECOWAS Structure, its Protocol on free movement and Transhumance, and the ECOWAS Brown Card and its importance to people within the community.

Ambassador Dufu said similar sensitisation workshops were ongoing in all member states to enable the people understand the mandate of ECOWAS and its benefits.

She explained that regional integration was a major pillar of Ghana’s foreign affairs policy, saying: “Regional integration is very important if we are to make any headway in our development as a continent.”

The formation of ECOWAS was on the principle of fostering economic collaboration among member states, elevating living standards, and ensuring collectiveness in advancing economic prosperity among the communities, she said.

Ambassador Dufu noted that ECOWAS had chalked a lot of successes since its inception, especially enabling free movement of people within the region to improve trade relations.

It had a track record of conflict resolution within the community, she said, mentioning the resolution of civil wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone and La Cote d’Ivoire, and that Ghanaian peace keeping contingents and diplomats had played significant roles in achieving those milestones.

She, however, acknowledged the unalienable role regional integration played in fostering economic development, adding that: “It is on this backdrop that I acknowledge that our region is at the cross-roads of economic development, insecurity and political instability.”

Ambassador Dufu observed with worry that five coup d’états were experienced in five member states from 2021 to 2023, which were heavily felt by the entire region and beyond.

Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf, underscored the significance of collective commitment of all to the regional integration and cooperation efforts.

The diversity of the cultures, traditions and aspirations within the ECOWAS community presented a great potential for growth, prosperity and sustainable development in the sub-region.

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