ECOWAS committed to regional peace and security - Amb. Baba Gana Wakil

ECOWAS committed to regional peace and security - Amb. Baba Gana Wakil

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has pledged its commitment to enhance regional peace and security, with emphasis on security architecture and early warning signals.

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The ECOWAS Resident Representative in Ghana, Ambassador Baba Gana Wakil, who made the remarks said enhanced regional peace and security is considered a number one priority of the regional bloc, giving the prevailing realities in the regional environment. 

He noted that critical issues such as the implementation of Regional Action Plan against terrorism on land and in the maritime environment, operationalisation of the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) are placed on the front-burner, along with renewed focus on the role of Regional Mediators and Facilitators such as the ECOWAS Committee of the Wise (Committee of Elders).

He pointed out that the regional bloc was also interested in deepening regional integration, promote good governance, ensure inclusive and sustainable development, build capacities of its organs and invest in technology and infrastructure.

Amb. Gana Wakil was speaking at an event held at the Ghana Communication Technology University in Accra Tuesday, May 28, 2024, to mark this year’s ECOWAS Day, which was marked on the theme: “ECOWAS yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

ECOWAS, the 15-member country bloc was founded on May 28, 1975, in Nigeria to promote economic cooperation among member states in order to raise living standards and promote economic development. 

ECOWAS Day

The overall aim of the programme was to educate and engage university students on the importance of communication technology in pursuance of ECOWAS objectives.

The event brought students and faculty members at the university, where some students were tested on the knowledge on the statues of ECOWAS at prizes. All participants were given ECOWAS diaries. 

Amb. Amb. Gana Wakil touching on the critical role of information and communication technology experts play in shaping the future of the sub-region.

He explained that the bloc needed intellectual resources to close the gap in the efforts to achieve digital transformation in several vital sectors across the economies of the 15 member states.

"I would like to seize this opportunity to emphasize that the ECOWAS region is looking into the future where the youth population with relevant skills such as the one gathered here today, will play a robust role in shaping this future," he noted. 

In addition, he observed, “We all have to bear in mind that, in the present day and age, it is virtually impossible for any economy to grow and compete favourably without developing critical digital assets and credentials."

A section of the participants at the programme

For Amb. Amb. Gana Wakil, "Acquisition of digital tools and techniques such as Agritech, Fintech and a host of others, is one of the fastest ways of growing our national and regional economy especially in the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises sector which form the backbone of economic growth in this part of the world."

He was of the view that "Pursuing digitalisation should not be limited to the economic landscape", and that "it is also essential in the socio-political and security landscape where digital tools such as cybersecurity and data analytics have become vital components in the fight against terrorism and other transnational crimes."

Amb. Amb. Gana Wakil therefore charged the participants, particularly the students, to become the changer makers for the region, saying "I urge you as change makers and future leaders of our sub-region, to take an active interest in our regional organisation and develop "ECOWAS Digital club" in this university as part of your extra-curricular activities.

He also commended Ghana's efforts in digitising it economy, noting that "Ghana is doing very well in the ECOWAS region" in terms of digitisation.

Collaboration

The Vice Chancellor of the Ghana Communication Technology University, Professor Emmanuel Afoakwa, expressed his appreciation to the leadership of ECOWAS for choosing the university to host this year’s ECOWAS Day celebration in Ghana.

For him, the ECOWAS Day serves as a reminder of the vision and commitment of “our leaders who over four decades ago laid the foundation for this regional body", pointing out that the goal was to promote economic cooperation and integration, enhance social and cultural ties, and ensure peace and stability within our region. 

He said the university was committed to promoting quality education and holistic training of its students to meet the demands of the modern world.

“And it is refreshing to know that ECOWAS shares our passion for providing education that serves as a sustainable tool for development within the sub-region,” he noted, adding that “As a fully-fledged public university, we have a very specific mandate to provide education which centers primarily on technology, that is, ICT, information and communication, technology, education and research that guides together other areas of expertise in business, entrepreneurship and engineering.” 

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Prof. Afoakwa said its “partnership with ECOWAS is crucial” and that through various collaborative initiatives, “we are working together to address some of the most pressing challenges facing our region, from digital transformation and cybersecurity to sustainable development and youth empowerment. It is through such partnerships that we can build a brighter future for all West Africans.” 

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