Praia - Cape Verde — The ECOWAS Commission has presented a cheque of US$190,000 to the Government of Cape Verde in support of victims of the unprecedented flood disaster which caused severe losses of property and displacement of people on the country's Boa Vista Island in 2012.
On behalf of the President of the Commission His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, the Commissioner for Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop, presented the cheque to Cape Verde's Vice Minister for Infrastructure and Maritime Economy Mr. Adalberto Vieira, at a ceremony in Praia, the nation's capital on Monday 21st January 2013. She said the symbolic gesture of fraternity is to complement the efforts of the Cape Verde Government towards mitigating the suffering of the affected population, adding that this is inspired by the institutions Vision 2020 for the transformation from an ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of people.
The Commissioner conveyed the sympathy and solidarity of the Commission and other Community institutions to Cape Verdeans in general, especially the affected families, noting that in spite of its pre-occupation with political and security issues, the Commission would not neglect the humanitarian challenges facing community citizens. She said the challenges were being addressed through various regional instruments, including the Protocol on the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security.
Commissioner Diop explained that efforts were also being redoubled to resolve the political crises and food insecurity in the region, adding that in spite of its limited resources, the Commission would continue to support community citizens affected by humanitarian disasters. In his response, Vice Minister Vieira thanked ECOWAS for the donation, which he described as a demonstration of solidarity with Cape Verde. He promised that the money would be utilized to mend the collapsed bridge in Boa Vista and to alleviate the suffering of the affected population, whose losses have been estimated at millions of dollars. Receiving Commissioner Diop in audience earlier, the Vice Minister, Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jose Luis Rocha reiterated Cape Verde's commitment to the ECOWAS ideal and support for regional initiatives for the resolution of regional crises, especially that of Mali.
He expressed optimism for the consolation of the symbiotic relationship between ECOWAS and Cape Verde, which he described as the smallest and the only Island country in the 15-nation regional economic grouping. Commissioner Diop assured the Minister that ECOWAS respects and protects the interests and peculiarities of all its Member States and would continue to work for peace and stability, economic development and integration of the region. The Commissioner also used the opportunity of the humanitarian trip to visit Cape Verde's Institute for Gender Equality, where she updated officials on the Commission's programmes and activities for the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment in the region.
Following a briefing by Mrs. Elsa Fortes, the Institute's National Coordinator for programme against gender violence, the Commissioner promised that the Commission would intensify its support and efforts for the empowerment of women in the country, especially in the institute's priority areas including tackling gender violence and problems associated with breast cancer. Cape Verde has achieved major strides on gender equality and women's development and has a national legislation on violence against women. Dr. Diop was accompanied on the visit to the Institute by Madam Nicole Cossiba, who is in charge of gender equality and women empowerment at the ECOWAS National Unit in Cape Verde, and Mr. Paul Ejime of the Commission's Communication Department, Abuja.