4th Academic Week of International Relations and Diplomacy of ISCJS The Director General of WAI presents Challenges and Perspectives of ECOWAS, Praia, 12 May 2016

DSC01569At the invitation of the Higher Institute for Law and Social Sciences (ISCJS) of Praia, the Director General of the West Africa Institute (WAI) held a conference on regional integration in the frame of the 4th Academic Week of International Relations and Diplomacy of ISCJS, celebrated from 9 to 14 May 2016.

The day of May 12 was dedicated to the theme «International Relations and Diplomacy in difficult times» and recorded the following two communications under the moderation of Dr. Carlos Carvalho, Lecturer and Coordinator of the International Relations course at the ISCJS, in the presence of Dr. Yara Miranda, President of ISCJS:

  • «The International Relations of the European Union in difficult times» by Prof. Laura Pereira of the University of Minho in Portugal;
  • «The Challenges and Perspectives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)» by Prof. Djénéba Traoré.

In her introduction, Prof. Traoré gave an overview of the five (5) Regions making up the African continent and presented the main Regional Economic Communities (RECs), before stressing the key role of History in the construction of the cultural identity of individuals and nations. She thereto reminded the major steps in the development of West Africa, namely:

  • The Great Empires (Ghana, Mali, Songhai), 8th to 15th century;
  • Slavery and slave trade, 14th to the 19th century;
  • Colonization, from the second half of the 19th century to the 20th century;
  • Independence struggles in the 20th century.

Prof. Traoré focused the second part of her intervention first, on the presentation of the results of the study conducted by WAI on the evaluation of the 2011-2015 Strategic Plan of ECOWAS and second, on the broad lines of ECOWAS Community Strategic Framework (CSF) 2016-2020 while welcoming the fact that the study has been used to guide discussions on the CSF.

Regarding the 2011-15 Strategic Plan, it has to be remembered that six (6) following Priority Objectives were selected for its implementation:

  • Priority Objective 1: Promote Good Governance, Justice and improve the mechanism for the prevention, management and conflict resolution.
  • Priority Objective 2: Promote the development of infrastructures and a competitive business environment.
  • Priority Objective 3: Support the development and cooperation in the region.
  • Priority Objective 4: deepen the socio-economic and monetary integration.
  • Objective Priority 5: Strengthen institutional capacity
  • Priority Objective 6: Strengthen the mechanism for integration into the world market.

PresentationIJSCS 2The most significant achievements include the relevance of the six Priority Objectives, the clarity and consistency of the ECOWAS Vision 2020 which advocates the passage from «the ECOWAS of States to the ECOWAS of Peoples». However, it is obvious that because of the huge challenges ahead, the results of the Strategic Plan are below expectations, the priority Objective 1 having achieved the highest implementation rate with 50.8% in May 2015 and Priority Goal 5, the lowest with 24.2% in the same period.

In addition, it has to be noticed that Priority Objective 6 has not been evaluated.

So, what are the major constraints which ECOWAS is facing? Among the major challenges, the Director General of WAI identified followings:

  • The Challenges of Implementation of a real Democratic Culture
  • The Challenges of Achieving Quality Education for All
  • The Challenges of implementing an effective Higher Education and an efficient Scientist Research
  • The Challenges of creating the conditions to assure Health for All
  • The Challenges of Peacekeeping and Security
  • The Challenges of the fight against Poverty

Presentation 3 WAI ISCJSIn the third and final part of her presentation, Prof. Traore addressed the ECOWAS perspectives, and underlined that Regional Integration is not the problem but rather the solution for the West African region and other regions of the continent to solve the issues that plague. Recalling that the future cannot be decreed, but strategically planed, the Director General of WAI posed the following questions to the audience of teachers, practitioners and students:

  • What kind of citizens do we want for the West Africa of the future?
  • How to establish a real equality between male and female?
  • How to manage the growing population of West Africa?
  • What models of urbanization and ruralization?
  • How to develop agriculture to eradicate hunger and poverty?
  • How to cover the energy needs for a sustainable development?
  • What kind of strategies do we have to implement in order to assure peace and security in the West African Region and beyond?

 By these questions, Prof. Traoré wished to highlight the fact that every human being must take its own destiny in his hand and work for the general interest.


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