ECOWAS, EU train NSAs
Monday, April 06, 2009
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in collaboration with the European Union (EU), last Wednesday convened a one-day sensitisation workshop on the regional integration process in West Africa.
Held at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi, the forum brought together officials from the department of state for Trade, Industry and Employment, civil society organisations, the ECOWAS national unit, regional networks, among others, and it aims at strengthening the capacities of non-state actors NSAs) and civil society organisations to enable them play effective and relevant role in the ECOWAS regional integration process initiated by the ECOWAS trade union. A call for proposal is the main procedure for awarding a grant, which aims at no commercial action which is proposed to the contracting authority ECOWAS Commission by a potential beneficiary (a non-state actor or a group of non-state actors) responsible for implementing the operation and retains ownership of its results.
In his welcome address, Kennedy Barsisa, principal programme officer Youth, Sports and Employment at the ECOWAS Commission said that the commission is working in close collaboration with the UEMOA commission that secured support from the European Union under the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) of the European Development Fund (EDF).
Non-State Actors, he pointed out, are capable of playing key roles in integration process due to their ability to build synergies with similar grassroot organisations, posses the flexibility to adapt to changing situations and play important roles in development financing by their ability to mobilise resources from the international community.
He maintained that the purpose of the call for proposals is to enable the Non-state Actors react to issues at stake and to participate in the formulation of regional policies, strategies and plans, including the preparation of negotiations of an EPA, and to popularise regional integration issues to the consciousness of the West African population.
Mr Barsisa told participants that the sectoral priorities for the programme are located in proposals whose actions are towards the achievement of customs union and market in West Africa and the economic surveillance system. Declaring the session open, Naffy Barry, permanent secretary at the department of state for Trade Industry and Employment, who deputised for the secretary of state of that department, noted that the session is the first of its kind - the EU in collaboration with ECOWAS putting out a grant, backing it up with sensitisation and training workshop to make it possible for NSAs to access these grants. According to her, in the past these grants were made available but the NSAs did not succeed in getting them because of lack of awareness and non adherence to EU procedures.
PS Barry promised that her department will leave no stone unturned in creating the needed awareness for the successful access to these funds by the NSAs. She thanked the EU and the ECOWAS for organising such a programme and also the NSAs for their cooperation in attending the meeting.
Author: by Musa Ndow