Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Unbearable Lightness of ECOWAS Community citizen...on ECOWAS Day!

You could be forgiven for thinking that the front page of Wednesday's Business and Financial Times newspaper is an indication that all is not necessarily well on the ECOWAS front. If you couple it with the news that ECOWAS common currency can only be achieved by 2020(!) That Niger is behaving in a way that might merit its suspension can only further buttress the fact that regional integration in West Africa has failed.


The West African sub-region remains one of the more vibrant regions on the African continent. You do a google search, and consistently, ECOWAS, SADC, and East African

Community (EAC) are cited as three of the more successful regional blocs out of the eight RECs that exist.

Just in case you might not know, German academics have written this of ECOWAS:

Being the prime engine of regional integration on the African continent, ECOWAS is currently undergoing impressive transformations aimed at defining new priorities and objectives. The ECOWAS priorities and objectives may also serve as a source of inspiration for other regional groupings anywhere else in the world.

The news also that the Ghana Investment
Promotion Council
is doing serious outreach work to get Ghanaians to form
cooperatives and link-up with businesses in Burkina Faso and Niger suggests that this forward-looking vision can only facilitate ECOWAS integration. You can read the news of this here:

What of the ECOWAS Parliament?

I daresay few people might be cognisant of the ECOWAS Parliament. I took the liberty of copying some of the "achievements" from the publication to the left:

In addition to providing parliamentary opinion on matters referred to it by ECOWAS Institutions, the Parliament has recorded the following achievements:

• Brokered peace process in the Mano River Region of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

• Sped up the process of adoption and implementation of ECOWAS decisions, protocols
and treaties.

• Widened the scope of participation of the ECOWAS peoples through its collaboration
with the civil society and the bringing on board of many Non-Governmental Organizations and Community-Based Organizations, a very focal point and nexus of democratic integration process.

• Advanced the cause of democracy and good governance through its support, mediation,
and diplomatic shuttles and peace missions to conflict zones in the region.

• Made texts, drafts and resolutions and amendment of protocols, and treaties in
compliance with a people-oriented integration of the region.

• Partnered, collaborated and shared experiences with the African Union Commission,
NEPAD Secretariat, the UN Agencies,the European Union, the African-Carribbean Pacific (ACP) Secretariat, etc to draw support for the region’s integration and development process.

• Critical engagement in election monitoring in many countries of the region like Nigeria, Benin Republic, Sierra-Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, the Gambia, Ghana etc.

• Made key inputs in the administration of ECOWAS institutions through the timely
sharing of experiences and feed backs to the parliament by the heads of such institutions or their delegates at the House Sittings.

• Institutional re-engineering of the organs and institutions of ECOWAS through the
setting of some criteria or standard of conformity and capacity building.

• Convened parliamentary sittings in different countries of the region to bring the integration process closer to the people and build confidence; rather than holding all the sittings in Abuja, Nigeria; which is the seat of the parliament.

• Surveillance on the economic and political developments within the region and intervention at appropriate times where need be.

• Early warning and proactive measures to forestall full blown crises through its shuttle diplomacy and country-specific collaboration.

• A program of Action at advanced stage to kick-start the process of membership election through universal suffrage to give the parliament legitimacy.

• Promotion of youthful activities and participation across the region.

• Budget Appropriation for ECOWAS Institutions.

• Facilitation of payment of development levy by Member States.

• Image making for ECOWAS and the integration process and deepening of relations
among Member States and with development partners.

• Contributed to the processes of Trade Liberalization, Macro-economic convergence,
creation of customs union and free movement of persons, goods; and investment across
the borders.

• Raised awareness through the Mass Media and mobilized Media establishments within and outside the Community to support ECOWAS institutions and agencies.

• Engaged the private sector, which is the driver of economic growth, to invest in the region.

I'm not quite sure what else to add, except whenever you read this, I hope you've learnt something more than you knew about the 34-yr-old institution, which WE all --community citizens of ECOWAS--have a stake in building up.

Happy ECOWAS day!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mid-Week Madness: At the Dawn of ECOWAS Day, am Livid about Coverage of AU Day by Ghanaian media

Tomorrow is the 34th anniversary of the the Economic Community of West African States, but I can bet my bottom-dollar that Ghanaian media will provide scant coverage of it.

Yesterday, I sent a message to the CITI97.3FM appreciation group on Facebook, which you can read below:

Hello! Yesterday I tuned in to citi around 13.02GMT to catch up with what I felt I had missed of Kat's brilliantly-presented African music programme, only to hear Farida K read the news, which she did brilliantly.

After that, I heard none other than popular presenter Jessica and Kat comparing notes on who could read the news better!!! On AU day!

I tuned after some ten minutes to Uniiq FM to hear a lengthy discussion/interview of an academic about AU day and what it meant for Africans. Then I tuned to Joy FM's news on the hour. Again, special coverage of AU day.

Surely something is wrong CITI-fm? Why can JOy and Uniiq cover AU day on the hour of their news and CITI not? I know Moro interviewed someone on the special breakfast show for some thirty minutes or so; that was commendable. The rest of the CITI bReakfast show was about SERIAL CALLERS!!! On AU day???? A segment would have been fine!

Two years ago, AU day was celebrated in grand style on CITI fm--from excerpts of Osagyefo Dr.Kwame Nkrumah to analysis of Bob Marley's lyrics.

This is what the UK media calls "dumbing down", in my humble opinion!

CITI fm, wake up!!!

Some hours later, the big boss of the station, Mr.Samuel Attah-Mensah, responded with a simple "thanks". I thought that was good of him; let's hope things can change for next year.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

FW: Going Undercover Till African Unity Day on 25 May

The time of the year has come when I am compelled to legally hibernate for a while. Will be swotting up on African regionalism, AU citizenship, and tryng to avoid getting angry over Ghanaian media's propensity to unwittingly encourage political polarization!

Till then...when I come back with a bang!

___sent: e.k.bensah (OGO device)+233.208.891.841/

These words brought to you by Ogo.


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