Two days sub-regional consultations on ECOWAS Post 2020 Vision is currently underway in Banjul at a local hotel in Senegambia.
The two-day meeting brought together Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Cabo Verde and The Gambia with a view to discussing on harmonising the findings of the National Consultations and discuss opportunities and challenges peculiar to each in the sub-region.
The convergence, also attended by representative from GIZ, UNDP, UNECA and ADB will also avail the participants the opportunities to ascertain the similarities in the aspirations expressed by the ECOWAS people during the national consultations.
Claudo Kondor, political adviser from ECOWAS, recalled that the authority and heads of state of governments of ECOWAS adopted a resolution in June 2007 referred to as 'ECOWAS Vision 2020' as vehicle to transform West Africa into borderless, peaceful and prosperous region by 2020.
He said all these years the vision has provided strategic orientation for the design and implementation of policies, programmes, projects and activities of ECOWAS.
"Now that the year 2020 has come, the big question is vision 2020 really achievable in the wake of multiple conflicts that overshadow and undermine ECOWAS ability to effectively and efficiently deliver what should have been done, that was not done at all in the face of these serious economic and political challenges."
Mam Cherno Jallow, principal programme officer, Programming, Planning and Coordination of ECOWAS, on behalf of the vice president of ECOWAS, said the vision document aims to express the aspirations of the West African people for the next 25 to 50 years.
The post 2020 vision document, he went on, will reflect the aspirations of the people over the next 25 years. He maintained that ECOWAS seeks to promoting cooperation and integration among its members, raise living standards of its people, maintain and enhance economic stability and foster relationship among its members.
The ECOWAS vision, he continued, was adopted as a development blue-print for the transformation of West Africa into a borderless, peaceful and prosperous region by 2020. "The long-term vision has provided the strategic orientation for the design and implementation of policies, programs, projects and activities of the community for the last 13 years."
Lamin Jobe, the minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, on behalf of the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, said the on-going work of ECOWAS to develop post 2020 vision is a strong indication of the organisation's resolve to enhance the development of member states and to deliver on its mandate as envisaged on vision of its founding fathers.
Minister Jobe added that the process so far has been consultative and participatory. "Different stakeholders in The Gambia including women and young people were consulted during the assessment exercise. It's my strong conviction that finding of this assessment in The Gambia and other member states will strongly inform the post 2020 vision of ECOWAS," he stated.
He added: "It will also help us build on some of the gains registered over the years and also draft a robust strategy to address the lingering development challenges."
The long-time vision once completed, he noted, will serve as a reference point for the member states planning framework, thus enhance synergies and alignment between members' development efforts.