The President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo has commended development partners for their sustained support towards the realization of the organization’s overarching objective of facilitating development and integration in West Africa, within an atmosphere of peace and security.
Receiving a delegation of the African Development Bank (AfDB) at the Commission Headquarters, Abuja, on Tuesday 5th September 2012, the President noted that Member States and Community citizens have benefited immensely from the Bank’s Support to ECOWAS for Peace and Development Project (PADEP), launched in 2006.
Under the project, worth about USD15 million, the Bank has disbursed about 80% of its commitment, in support of refugee resettlement and integration projects in the region, the ECOWAS Volunteers Programme (EVP) and the development of curricula on the culture of peace.
On behalf of ECOWAS and the beneficiary Member States, President Ouédraogo expressed his profound appreciation to the Bank, noting that partnership programmes such a PADEP, fall within the priority areas of his management team which assumed duties in February/March this year.
“Peace and security is a prerequisite for socio-economic development and it is within this context that we sincerely appreciate the support of AfDB and other development partners,” he said, adding that youth employment and empowerment were also some of the key challenges facing the region.
President Ouédraogo called for the strengthening of partnerships and collaboration between all the major stakeholders, namely the Commission, other community institutions, Member States and the development partners.
In his response, the AfDB Head of Mission and Chief Economist, Dr. Paul Dougna agreed with the President that the PADEP project has produced excellent results within its primary objectives of promoting peace, security and development, capacity building and youth empowerment.
The courtesy call on the President was on the margins of a series of assessment meetings by the PADEP partners, including the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which is implementing the refugee resettlement and integration projects on behalf of the Commission, the United Nations Volunteer programme, which is assisting the Commission with the implementation of the ECOWAS Volunteers Programme, as well as UNESCO, which is assisting the Commission in developing a Reference Manual on the culture of peace and citizenship.
The PADEP project, which has already been extended by one year, is expected to end by 31st December 2012, but there is a consensus among the stakeholders that given its tremendous achievements and benefits, there is the need for continued collaboration, including through a similar new project/programme, taking into account the lessons learnt and the cumulated results.
President Ouédraogo expressed his willingness to lead a delegation to the AfDB headquarters in Tunis, as soon as possible, for dialogue and mutual exchange of ideas on how to move the partnership and cooperation between the two institutions forward.
Also present during the courtesy call, were Dr. Adrienne Diop, ECOWAS Commissioner for Humanitarian Development and Gender, the ECOWAS Peace Fund Manager, Mr. Dieudonné Nikièma, the Director of ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, Mr. Francis Njoaguani, and Ms. Mariam Yinusa, Task Manager for PADEP at the AfDB.
Source: Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) – Press Release – 10 September 2012