By Aisha Tamba
The sixth annual gathering of heads of Ecowas national offices is currently underway in The Gambia.
It will discuss issues related to the implementation of Ecowas operational manual and challenges related to the effective implementation of regional integration programmes in member states.
The three-day meeting is a platform for the exchange of ideas and sharing of best practices among the heads of these offices.
The forum will also discuss achievements and challenges of the implementation of community programmes at various national levels.
Speaking at the event, trade minister Lamin Jobe said the objective of the Ecowas regional integration process is to promote economic integration through regional programs that enhance the harmonisation of economic policies.
“This needs the collective efforts of all stakeholders, more so the heads of Ecowas national offices who are directly tasked to strengthen coordination to facilitate and ensure effective implementation of Ecowas programmes in member states,” he said.
Speaking further, he told the delegates at the Kairaba Hotel: “Your role is to guarantee that Ecowas regional integration initiatives gain traction at the national level by disseminating information and carrying out public awareness on Ecowas programmes and ensure that the regional policies are integrated into all aspects of national policies.”
Yahya Samateh, director of regional integration and head of the Ecowas National Office of the Gambia, said the implementation of the operational manual by member states requires collective responsibilities from both the Ecowas Commission and member states.
“However, we must also acknowledge the giant strides taken by member states as well as the Commission in ensuring that the institutional setup required for the implementation of the manual are in place. I think collectively we have done well in that regard,” he said.