Countries Must Show Commitment to Regional Integration -ECOWAS

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called on countries to  show commitment to the regional integration strategy through implementation rather than proclamation.
The need for member counties to fully implement the regional integration strategic plan was reemphasized the the commencement of a three day meeting of national planning experts from ECOWAS member states in Lagos yesterday.
According to the Director, ECOWAS Strategic Planning Directorate, Mr Essien Abel Essien, “if member states proclaim strong political commitment to integration, then they should demonstrate it at the national level through serious measures and actions.”
Essien who noted that the Regional Strategic Plan 2015 has been successful so far, stressed that member states should be seen to implement regional decision and ensure efficient coordination between the objective San instruments of regional integration and national economic policy making.
The implementation of the Regional Strategic a plan ends this year and a successor plan, Community Strategic Framework (CSF) which will run from 2016 to 2020 is being formulated.
Essien explained that the CSF which is targeted at creating an ECOWAS of people, will “provide overall direction with respect to community goals, set out principles of engagement with stakeholders and provide guidance to community institutions in the design and preparation of their strategic plans.
“There is the need to involve civil society in the process because an integration process that involves civil society stands a much better chance of success than one that is led by governments alone. Unless the people are aware of the regional integration and interested in its success the process will face difficulties in terms of of ownership and public support.”
On his own part, director Microeconomic, Ministry of Planning, Tunde Lawal noted that strategic plan should not be a stand alone plan, but it has to be “mainstreamed in the context of the country’s development agenda for it to be effective.”

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