ECOWAS to develop new Sahel strategy27 Feb, 2019
Abuja, 27th February, 2019. A Committee comprising of several Directorates of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in a meeting on 26th February 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria, drafted the Terms of Reference (TOR) that would be used by a consultant to craft a new Sahel Strategy for ECOWAS (2020-2025).
The Commissioner for Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku stated that the TOR will enable the consultant draft a strategy which will deliver clear objectives and chart the path for a comprehensive set of programmes that will guarantee ECOWAS’ development through the provision of enhanced security and stability as well as the improvement of the living standard of the people in the Sahel region.
The Commissioner informed participants that this had become necessary because the Sahel region is faced with development challenges which include inadequate infrastructure and climate change, causing irregular rainfall, persistent drought and recurrent food crisis.
Furthermore, he stated that, “the political unrest in Libya and Mali have also elevated the instability of the region causing serious security threat, illicit trafficking, money laundering, irregular migration and the displacement of persons as well as the spread of violent extremism involving radical armed groups. The security and economic problems in Sahel Region have thus undermined the socio-economic development in ECOWAS Member States”.
He noted that the implementation of the ECOWAS Sahel Strategy has been challenged by duplication of activities due to the multiplicity of Sahel Strategy initiatives. Hence he stressed the need for a comprehensive strategy which will improve synergy and coordination among all stake holders and interest groups such as the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the Permanent Inter-state Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the Liptako Gourma Authority (ALG) and Niger Basin Authority (NBA).
The strategy will define a strategic framework, develop an action plan comprising of joint programs with other regional and international organizations and include a monitoring and evaluation framework.