A two-day National Consultation Workshop for ECOWAS Vision 2020 has concluded in Ho in the Volta Region with the aim of deepening and monitoring integration to increase the intra-regional trade within the Sub Region.
Organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Monitoring and Evaluation, ECOWAS will promote a common trade policy and capital markets such as the Ghana Nigeria stock exchange with the aim of facilitating connection to trade on the stock exchange market.
The workshop saw the appearance of Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr. Charles Owiredu, Traditional Rulers, Heads of Department of the various institutions, ECOWAS protocols and some other stakeholders.
In his address, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Charles Owiredu said regional integration was essential to the socio-economic development of the West African Sub Region and the African continent as a whole.
He noted that Ghana remains committed to policies and programs of the ECOWAS thus, it would promote good governance, ensure economic and monitoring integration as well as provide common currencies for a borderless, peaceful, and a cohesive Sub Region.
“Ghana has remained firmly committed to the Regional integration of its members and to the participation to its community protocols, in addition, we have raised the living standards of the West African people through inclusive programs from ECOWAS of States to ECOWAS of people”….he noted.
He, however, stressed the need to assess ECOWAS challenges in order to achieve targets set for Vision 2020.
That, he said, would ensure a borderless and peaceful and a coherence sub-region. In addition, to promote peace and security of the sub-region.
On the Community Strategic Framework, Head of Regional and Economic Policy of the Ministry of Finance, Enoch Obeng Darko, lamented that Ghanaians do not know much about the work of ECOWAS, especially the social and economic integration program which aims at reducing poverty, adding that, social conditions such as a change in the poverty indices was also less known to the citizens.
He mentioned that countries in the region were achieving the convergence criteria to increase intra-regional trade, thus, important for the growth rate in real GDP and change in the environmental index.
The ECOWAS vision 2020 seeks to achieve increased intra-community trade where there would be no need to smuggle goods, into any ECOWAS region. The Vision seeks to improve the infrastructure opportunities and to examine achievements that have been made to deepen the socio-economic development of the West African Sub Region, in order to harness more opportunities in the region.
A revised roadmap including statistics harmonisation, central bank financing and convergence criteria such as the single-digit inflation, have been strategised to maintain the economic stability which is essential for the socio-economic development.
There is also the need to strengthen community development programs to ensure joint borders are provided for member states to enhance the relationship between border states.
By Agnes Melissa Yovo, HO