ECOWAS DELEGATION COMPLETES THE 2023 ASSESSMENT OF THE OWNERSHIP AND IMPLEMENTATION OF REVISED OPERATIONAL MANUAL OF NATIONAL OFFICES IN THREE MEMBER STATES: SENEGAL, GHANA AND COTE D’IVOIRE.
As part of efforts to ensure coherence in ownership and implementation of the revised ECOWAS National Office Operational Manual, an ECOWAS delegation carried out assessment work in three countries, Senegal, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire from 11 to 21 April 2023.
The evaluation aimed to determine the level of support and commitment of Member States in the implementation of the revised Operational Manual as well as to identify the challenges and constraints that could arise from its implementation. This was done in order to put in place corrective measures. The revised Operational Manual was adopted by the Council of Ministers in December 2021 in Abuja, Nigeria.
A total of 3 countries for this phase were selected for this first evaluation of the implementation of the ECOWAS operational manual: Senegal, Ghana, and Côte d'Ivoire.
The evaluation team was led by Mr. Jerome Boa, Director of External Relations and supported by officials from the Directorate.
In Senegal, the assessment team met with Ambassador Stephan Sylvain SAMBOU, Head of the ECOWAS National Office in Senegal and Ambassador Jean Antoine DIOUF, Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad, who was previously Head of the ECOWAS National Office in Senegal.
Ambassador Stephan Sylvain SAMBOU, expressed his deep gratitude to the delegation for this assessment mission, as it provides an opportunity to identify areas for improvement in the ownership and implementation of the Revised Manual. Drawing on his experience as former Head of the ECOWAS National Office, Ambassador DIOUF noted the need to improve communication between the Commission and ECOWAS country offices. He also stressed the importance of synergy and coordination to enhance ECOWAS' visibility at the national level. He reiterated the commitment of the Senegalese Government, H.E. Mrs. Aissata TALL SALL, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad, to support the 4X4 objectives of the ECOWAS Directorate and ECOWAS Vision 2050.
From Senegal, the Assessment team proceeded to Ghana. They first had a courtesy call Ambassador Baba G. WAKIL, ECOWAS Resident Representative in Ghana. Ambassador WAKIL briefed the team of the excellent support that the Government of Ghana has been given to his office, in particular, in facilitating the acquisition of a diplomatic representation Office for ECOWAS in Accra. He also talked about the good working relationship that exists between his office and the ECOWAS National Office, the institutions and civil society organisations in Ghana. He however observed that since he assumed office two years ago there has been three Heads of ECOWAS Office in post in Ghana.
The assessment team had a working session with the Head of ECOWAS National Office in Ghana, Mrs. Neematu Zublim ADAM and other officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. She presented an overview of the regional integration activities, programmes and projects that the National Office in Ghana is carrying out. She also gave a detailed presentation of the working cooperation that exist between the National Office and ECOWAS institutions and agencies present in Ghana. She then shared with the assessment team some copies of ‘’ECOWAS FRONT’’ the Quaterly Newsletter of the Regional Integration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
The assessment team thereafter had a courtesy call on Hon. Kwaku AMPRATWUM-SARPONG, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. The Minister expressed the deep appreciation of the Government of Ghana to ECOWAS and commended the efforts of the current ECOWAS President H.E. Omar Alieu TOURAY in driving the regional integration agenda with clarity and vision as it contained in the 4X4 and ECOWAS Vision 2050. He expressed the continuing commitment of the Government of Ghana to the regional integration process and its ownership and implementation of the Revised Operational Manual.
Lastly, the ECOWAS delegation visited Côte d'Ivoire where it met with the Director of the ECOWAS National Office in Côte d'Ivoire, Mrs. Sandra FOLQUET, as well as the Director of Cabinet of the Minister of Integration, Amb. Wautabouna OUATTARA. The delegation also had a courtesy call on the ECOWAS Resident Representative in Côte d'Ivoire, SEM. Fanta CISSE.
Ms. Sandra Folquet during the working session thanked the delegation for this initiative and made a presentation of the Strategic Plan of the ECOWAS National Office 2022-2024.
The Director of Cabinet of the Minister of Integration, Amb. Wautabouna OUATTARA thanked and congratulated the ECOWAS President H.E. Omar Alieu TOURAY for the achievements and his leadership in steering the regional integration affairs since he assumed office in July 2022. He then encouraged the Delegation to continue this initiative of evaluation of national offices in order to improve the ownership and implementation of the Revised Operational Manual.
In all the three countries visited, Mr. Jerome BOA made a short presentation on the Revised Operational Manual to all the interlocutors and reassured them of the continued availability of the Commission and the Directorate of External Relations to support the ECOWAS National Office in the implementation and operationalization of the revised Manual. He also took the opportunity to inform the National Offices of the Aid Management Platform (AMP),
being developed at the Commission as an information and communication tool to enable the Commission and Member States, through ECOWAS Country Offices and development partners, to collect access to and monitor information on regional partners' projects, with the overarching aim of increasing aid effectiveness. AMP aims to help users track specific projects through the planning, implementation and evaluation stages. In addition, its functionalities such as online workspaces, data entry, reports, interactive dashboards and maps provide the Commission and Member States with strategic information for effective decision-making.
The observations and recommendations of the evaluation team as well as suggestions for improving the ownership and implementation of the revised Operational Manual made by the interlocutors will be shared with the other ECOWAS country offices and at the Commission in Abuja.