By Tabora Bojang
A delegation of protocol officers from the Ecowas Commission in Abuja currently on training in The Gambia on Monday paid visits to the National Assembly, Ecowas Permanent Mission in Banjul and the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies to discuss, exchange and develop a broader view of cooperation.
The delegation was led by retired Gambia High Commissioner to Senegal and ambassador to Burkina Faso and Mali, Ebrima Ousman Ndure who is now operating a diplomacy-consulting firm.
The visits came following a week-long capacity building training for this first cohort of Ecowas protocol officers on diplomacy, etiquette and protocol, conducted by the Gambia based Diplomacy-Etiquette and Protocol Consulting firm founded by Ambassador Ndure.
According to the retired diplomat, the objective of the visits was to enhance collaboration and instill exchanges on internationally recognised ideas and best practices of diplomacy, etiquette and protocols for better service delivery.
“These [courtesy calls] are geared towards establishing professional collaboration and friendship between the Ecowas protocol officers and their Gambian counterparts who can be sharing best practices, identify common protocol breaches and how to avoid them in their line of duties. We live in a global world and we are all bound by certain international codes of conduct that if we do not adhere to that, we will be left behind. Capacity building is very important because it enhances the performance of the institutions the trained officers work for”, Ambassador Ndure who also served as a chief of protocol for ex-president Jawara added.
He said the Diplomacy-Etiquette and Protocol Consulting started its operation at the national level and now it is looking forward to going regional.
“We have the self confidence and the expertise. So, we don’t need to go looking for experts in Europe to come and teach, we know what our problems are and we should be able to solve them,” he said.
The head of the delegation from Abuja Chinenye Njoku, said the courtesy calls availed them greater opportunities to interact, collaborate, exchange ideas and experiences with their counterparts from relevant diplomatic institutions. It is in our interest to meet with our colleagues in other institutions so as to interact and get to learn from each other. “This training and the courtesy visits are really timely and practical and we look forward to implementing the recommendations and the experiences. It is all geared towards promoting Ecowas’ policy of people and interregional integration,” he said.
The delegation was received at the National Assembly by Kalipha Mbye Deputy Clerk and the Director of Communications Gibairu Janneh.
Mr Mbye expressed gratitude for the visit saying, the Assembly was open to mutually beneficial collaborations and partnerships especially on diplomacy and etiquettes for a better service delivery to the public.
Welcoming the delegation to the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, Executive Director Hannah J Forster said she was excited by the visit describing it as a “privilege.”
The work of the Centre, she explains, focuses broadly on the right to development, governance, conflict resolution and gender equality, saying the Centre welcomes and encourages closer collaboration with all relevant partners in its areas of intervention.
The Ecowas Permanent Representative to The Gambia Vabah Gayflor assured the delegation of the Commission’s continuous support to help them further their skills and expertise.