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Ecowas marks 49th anniversary

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By Omar Bah

The Ecowas Permanent Mission in The Gambia in collaboration with the government Tuesday commemorated the 49th anniversary of the founding of the regional bloc at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.

The celebrations highlighted Ecowas achievements, goals and ongoing efforts towards regional integration and development among others.

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The colourful celebrations brought together diplomats, government officials, Ecomig, Ecowas representatives, among others symbolising regional unity, peace and security. The day also witnessed cultural displays by various Ecowas Member States.

Miata Lily French, Ecowas resident representative in The Gambia, said the regional body is concerned with the number of security issues the region continuous to grapple with which is threatening its growth, adding the theme was timely and encourages members states to reflect on the status of the region.

“At 49, the region is faced with a number of conflicts and other challenges that continue to undermine stability and deter proper development,” she stated.

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Ambassador French said despite the challenges Ecowas continue to make significant gains on a number of fronts as it thrives to focus on solving the economic challenges.

“We are at a crucial cross roads and our unity is under threat. This is probably because we are at 49 as Middle Ages comes with strange things. We will continue to work to ensure that we are able to overcome these crises and all people of the West African region continue to benefit from the dreams of those that signed the treaty 49 years ago,” she said.

In a statement read on behalf of the Minister of Trade, Tabara Touray-Sowe, Director of Regional Integration and head of Ecowas National Office, said the day marks a significant milestone in their collective journey towards regional integration, economic development and social progress.

“Our founders envisaged a region where borders will be less of a barrier and more of a bridge facilitating the free movement of people, goods, services and capital,” she said. He noted that over the past 49 years they have made remarkable strives towards the mission through the establishment of a market, Ecowas biometric passport and the Identity Card as well as the free movement of goods and services and people across our borders.

She said Ecowas has made significant progress in promoting peace and stability in several countries, adding that they must continue to strengthen their efforts towards regional unity, peace and stability. “There can be no free trade zone or customs union without regional unity, peace and stability.”

Ebrima Tambajang, human resources officer for Ecowas Regional Competition Authority, said in 2007, Ecowas adopted a Regional Competition Policy Framework (RCPF), articulating the purpose and basic principles of competition law and its many benefits to the Community Market and the regional integration process.

“The adoption of the Competition Rules and establishment of ERCA are essential steps toward achieving market efficiency, economic growth, and integration in West Africa which are fundamental objectives of ECOWAS.”

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