21st Session of Ice - New Challenges and Prospects for Regional Integration in West Africa, Is At the Heart of the Cotonou Discussions

27 June 2018

Cotonou — the Government of Benin in collaboration with the Subregional Office for Africa of Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Wednesday started the 21st Session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) for West Africa in Cotonou.

With the theme, "Regional integration in West Africa: new challenges and prospects" the session intends to hold discussions on recent trends which could impact the social and economic development of countries in West Africa, so as to identify the main challenges, and make recommendations to accelerate growth and economic transformation in the subregion.

The Minister of State in charge of Planning and Development of Benin, Mr. Abdoulaye Bio Tchane stated, "this strong presence of delegates reflects the choice of each of our countries to make progress on our common march towards regional integration".

"During this session, the themes to be discussed should inspire you as you seek to bring our States to maximize or minimize, to halt or accelerate, to promote or undo, according to the different cases and the expected or desired effects", Mr. Bio Tchane said.

According to the Director of ECA Subregional Office for West Africa, Mr. Dimitri Sanga, the relevance and basis for the choice of the theme takes into consideration the dynamics at play in the subregion, namely, the ongoing attempts at ECOWAS expansion, the official launching of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the single subregional currency and the situation in the Sahel.

"It is therefore in the light of these challenges and prospects that ECA, your Institution, decided to invite eminent delegates here to discussions and do analysis in order to better guide the ECOWAS Commission and its member States to seek innovative approaches and responses to the different challenges for the benefit of the people of West Africa", Monsieur Dimitri Sanga stated.

Delegates from 15 West African countries, representatives of ECOWAS, and several other institutions are participating in this 21st ICE session.

Note to editors

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The mission of its Office for West Africa is to support the development of the 15 countries of the sub-region (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo) by helping them to formulate and implement policies and programs that can contribute to their economic and social transformation.

The ICE is a body set up by the United Nations General Assembly. Every year it brings together high-level decision-makers from Member-States with the goal, not only of debating economic and social performance and proposing relevant recommendations, but also of reviewing the activities of the Office and supervising the development and general implementation of its program of work, including the formulation of priority objectives for the sub-region. In this way, the ICE provides guidelines for the programs of the Office by ensuring the best integration of sub-regional priorities and makes recommendations in order to resolve issues that affect the economic and social development of the sub-region. These recommendations may, if necessary, be examined by the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

In West Africa, the ICE meets annually to debate economic and social performance on the basis of working documents prepared by the Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA/SRO-WA).

The ICE is hosted every year, at its request, by a Member State of the sub-region.

For further information, contact: Tahirou Gouro, Communication Officer, ECA-SRO/WA,

mob: +227 90 99 99 39, Email: tgouro@uneca.org

#ICE2018WA

For ICE, kindly visit: https://www.uneca.org/fr/ice21-wa

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