Niamey — The 19th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) for West Africa will be held on February 25-26, 2016 at the King Fahd Hotel in Dakar (Senegal). It is being organised by the Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Government of the Republic of Senegal, in collaboration with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
This 19th session of the ICE will gather together delegates from 15 Member states of West Africa as well as senior representatives and experts from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the Mano River Union (MRU), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other financial institutions in West Africa, Agencies of the United Nations System, Intergovernmental and Non-Governmental Organisations (IGOs) and development partners.
The theme chosen for debate this year is entitled, "The Country Profiles of the ECA: tools in the service of the structural transformation of West African countries". The choice of this theme for the agenda of the 19th session of the ICE results from the wish by the Sub-Regional Office of the ECA for West Africa to edify the delegates of Member countries on the utility and the specific features of these country profiles by underlining what differentiates them from similar documents produced by other institutions. In contrast to other profiles, the ECA country profiles aim rather at providing each African country with an objective analysis of its economic and social situation, supported by a certain number of global indicators, notably the African Social Development Index (ASDI), African Gender and Development Index (AGDI) and the Regional Integration Index (RII). They will also serve as sources of comparative data to respond to the needs of academics, civil society, investors and analysts. Lastly, they will contribute to the development of African statistical systems by strengthening the availability of data from national sources, up-to-date, multi-sectoral, disaggregated and complying with international norms and standards.
Thus, the main objective of the 19th session of the ICE is to debate recent developments that could impact the economic and social development of West African countries, in order to identify the main challenges to be met and to make recommendations to accelerate the growth and the economic transformation of the sub-region. With this in mind, the participants will examine the report prepared by the Office on the above-mentioned theme, which will serve as the main document for discussion. They will also examine the note on the economic and social conditions in 2015 and the outlook for 2016 in West Africa. In addition, they will analyse the recurrent report on the implementation of regional and international agendas, which this year place the emphasis on the transition between the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) achieved in 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted under the auspices of the United Nations in September 2015. Moreover, the Report on the Activities of the Office during 2015 and its Provisional Programme of Work for 2016 will be presented to them for their assessment and validation.
At this 19th session of the ICE, the following are expected: (i) an acute awareness by the Member states of the economic and social difficulties that the sub-region has encountered and the need to adopt appropriate strategies to overcome them;(ii) the appropriation of the ECA country profiles as tools in the service of the structural transformation of the countries of West Africa; (iii) a good understanding of the challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), of how they differ from the MDGs, of the common position adopted by African States for their elaboration and the advantages that each country can draw from them; and (iv) a more active implication of Member states in the work of the Office in the programmes developed to provide assistance to Member States.
It should be remembered that the examination of economic and social issues, the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) for West Africa, which includes high-level officials from all the Member countries of the sub-region, gather together every year to take stock of the activities of the Office and provide guidelines on the development of its Programme of Work.