Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, shared the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS) Vision 2050 with traditional and religious leaders in Ghana.
On Thursday, February 25, 2021, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey held a consultative meeting with the traditional and religious leaders at the Ofori Panin Palace in Kyebi, Eastern Region of Ghana.
In her speech during the meeting, she recalled that the ECOWAS Vision 2020 was adopted in June, 2007 by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS as the development blueprint for the transformation of West Africa into a borderless, peaceful and prosperous region by 2020.
She explained that the ECOWAS Vision 2020 came to an end in December 2020, necessitating the development of a Roadmap for the preparation of the Post 2020 Vision – now referred to as ECOWAS Vision 2050.
“The processes to fashion out the ECOWAS Vision 2050 commenced in January 2019; and this meeting is part of that ongoing process,” she said.
The ECOWAS Vision 2050, she said, envisioned a borderless, peaceful, prosperous, cohesive region, built on good governance, where the citizenry has the capacity to access and harness the region’s enormous resources through the creation of opportunities for sustainable development and environmental preservation.
“The realization of this noble vision depends to a large extent on local actions taken by our Community citizens with the support of our Traditional and Religious leaders who are the custodians of our societal norms. To effectively support these local actions, it is important to forge partnerships with relevant stakeholders including Your Royal Majesties and our Eminent Religious leaders in view of your extensive outreach and presence in the region. It is acknowledged that your views are highly respected further underscoring the importance of your inclusion in this regional assignment to develop a dynamic and implementable ECOWAS Vision 2050.”
“The significance of this Consultative meeting should not be lost on any of us. You are aware that hitherto ECOWAS had been seen, and rightly so, as the Community which has lost touch with the citizenry. ECOWAS was basically viewed as a Community belonging to bureaucrats and politicians without the involvement of the grass roots,” she said.
“I am happy that collectively we are taking commendable steps to correct this wrong impression about ECOWAS. I am of the firm conviction that this meeting and subsequent engagements with other stakeholders will lead to outcomes which will contribute to the formulation of an attainable and relevant objectives for the region.”
“As you go into the technical sessions to deliberate on the various themes, it is my expectation that the hopes and aspirations of the people you represent will be reflected in the comments and interventions that you make. The concerns of the various segments of society, particularly the youth, women, the aged and children should be accorded priority given their peculiar vulnerabilities,” she urged.
In his address, the Okyehene (paramount Chief), Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, observed that the Economic Community of West African States hosts the largest economic and political union in Africa and has the responsibility to set an example for the rest of the continent and the whole of the developing world.
He said the Sub Region abounds with enormous resources: minerals, forestry, freshwater, marine, a diversified climate that supports all kinds of plants and livestock production, cash crop agriculture potential of all types including ecotourism.
However, he lamented that despite these enormous opportunities, much attention has not been paid in harnessing the enormous resources of the Sub Region with the consequence that the people of the Sub Region are thrown into the abyss of mass poverty, hopelessness and degradation.
“These vast opportunities are hampered by persistent gaps in education, health, and skills, but most importantly bad governance which has left the Sub Region reaching a minimal 40% of its estimated potentials.”
“The horrific scenes on our television screens of our young men losing their lives in the Mediterranean in attempts to reach Europe brings to question the need for the examination of the structures and effectiveness of the governance system and approaches to public policy, planning and implementation of programmes in our various countries.”
“The Chieftaincy institution is embedded in the psyche of our people, it has the respect, legitimacy and direct relation to their daily lives; materially and spiritually.”
“Chieftaincy is the primary source of political socialization that integrates all aspects of religious, economic, environment, traditional medicine, marriage, self-identity and public peace.”
“For example, in Ghana today, 95% of marital and inheritance conflicts are resolved in the palaces of Chiefs and over 80% of all land disputes and 70% all legal issues. This attest to the indispensability of the chieftaincy institution in modern governance.
With regards to public order, the Police Presence in the Rural and Peri-Urban areas is virtually absent. Public Order is maintained by age old and time tested and accepted traditional system of control and observances supervised by Nananom.”
By Melvin Tarlue