ECOWAS Institutions are meeting in Lagos, Nigeria for a five (5) day workshop to validate guidelines on exclusion from access to funding and publication of recipients of funds. This workshop will go a long way in enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of EU aid in West Africa. In addition to strengthening the capacity of the ECOWAS to become pillar compliant which includes operationalizing the use of its management and control tools that would enable ECOWAS directly manage EU funds using its internal procedures and policies.
The Pillar Assessment is part of a wider Institutional Reform Process within ECOWAS Commission. A Pillar compliant entity is allowed to use its internal procedures to manage EU and other Donor funds directly. During a mock assessment conducted in 2021, ECOWAS was assessed on eight (8) out of the nine (9) EU Pillars, passing four (4) and requiring improvement on four (4). The 4 Pillars which required improvement on by ECOWAS Commission were: Pillar 1: internal control; Pillar 7: exclusion from access to funding; Pillar 8 publication of information on recipients; and Pillar X: protection personal data. The action plan also included gaps identified in pillars which ECOWAS passed under Accounting, External Audit, Grants and Procurement.
The purpose of the workshop is to review and validate draft guidelines developed on exclusion from access to funds and on publication of recipient of funds. In addition, the process is meant to ensure that the guidelines are in line with existing policy documents on grants and procurement within ECOWAS Institutions and Agencies.
The ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Internal Services Prof. Nzaifi Abdullahi Darma, in his opening remarks stressed the need for all hands to be on deck in order to achieve the objectives of this workshops which includes implementation of these harmonized guidelines and creating awareness on the existence and use of grant making processes and tools while ensuring that they are in contrast with internal policies and practices of the ECOWAS.
These guidelines once validated will support the universality of the ECOWAS procedures such that it can attract funding from different global sources, and an operationalization mechanism will be set up for approval and implementation with clear roles, responsibilities, and oversight and with timelines, he said.
The workshop will end on Friday, 24th March, 2023, with the adoption of the report and recommendations for the approved guidelines and the evaluation of validation process.