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As part of the monitoring and implementation of its operational procedures manual, the ECOWAS Commission is organizing a seminar for Heads of ECOWAS National Offices from August 1 to 4, 2023 in the Commune of Grand Bassam. This operational manual adopted in April 2015 in Accra and its revised version, adopted by the Council of Ministers in Abuja in December 2021, defines the mission and roles of the ECOWAS National Offices.

This year's meeting, the theme of which is: Role of ECOWAS National Offices in facilitating and promoting the visibility of ECOWAS and ownership of regional integration programs and projects at the national level: Challenges and opportunities, shows the commitment of the ECOWAS Commission in monitoring the actions of these National Offices.

The objectives of this meeting are, on the one hand, to discuss the efforts made by the Heads of National Offices to ensure the visibility of ECOWAS in the Member States, and on the other hand, to exchange and share the best practices between Heads of ECOWAS National Offices for the promotion and achievement of ECOWAS objectives at both national and regional levels.

The opening ceremony of this meeting saw the participation of Eleven (11) Heads of ECOWAS National Offices, the Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Mrs. Damtien L. Tchintchibidja, the Director of External Relations of ECOWAS, Mr. Jerome BOA, the President of the Heads of ECOWAS Offices and Head of the ECOWAS National Office in Nigeria, HE Mr. Yakubu A. DADU, ECOWAS staff, the Mayor of Grand Bassam Mr. Jean Louis MOULOT represented by his special adviser Mr. KOFFI ABOUA Louis De Gonzague, the Ambassador, and the Director of Cabinet Mr. Kabran Assoumou representing the Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and the Diaspora, Ms. Kandia Kamara.

Mr. Jerome BOA in his opening speech thanked the mayor of Grand Bassam for the welcome and indicated that this annual meeting is a ''Think Tank'' type capacity building platform which makes it possible to make proposals relevant information and recommendations for the resolution of the problems of the ECOWAS National Offices. He also recalled that this meeting is positioned within the framework of actions aimed at the proper execution and effective implementation of the texts of the operational procedures manual of ECOWAS National Offices.

In his opening address, HE Mr. Yakubu A. DADU, as Chairman of this meeting, welcomed the participants and expressed his gratitude to ECOWAS for organizing the annual meeting in 2023. He further thanked the host country for its warm welcome and its facilities to host this meeting. He further underscored the importance of the continuation of the collective efforts of the National Offices towards the common goal of the community and encouraged the participants to share their experiences for the achievement of the objectives set.

Mr. Kabran Assoumou on behalf of Mrs. Kandia Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and the Diaspora, welcomed the participants, and reiterated the thanks of Mrs. Minister Kandia to the President of the Commission of the ECOWAS, HE Omar Alieu TOUREY, for the choice of this meeting in Côte d'Ivoire. He also insisted on the need to achieve the results and objectives of this meeting for the better implementation of the various projects and programs of the National Offices.

Mr. Jean Louis MOULOT welcomed to his Commune on behalf of all the administrative, customary and military authorities of Grand Bassam and also thanked ECOWAS for the choice of this Historic City, the first capital of Côte d'Ivoire and which retraces part of the history of the Ivory Coast and Africa. He then wished a fruitful meeting to all the participants.

The Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission in her address expressed the deep gratitude of the ECOWAS Commission to the City of Grand-Bassam for hosting the meeting. She then congratulated the Resident Representative of ECOWAS in Côte d'Ivoire for her exemplary work with the Ivorian Government.

She then encouraged the participants, and expressed her congratulations to the outgoing President of the ECOWAS National Offices, Head of the ECOWAS National Office in Guinea-Bissau and welcomed the new President, Head of the ECOWAS National Office in Nigeria. Citing the importance of this meeting for the promotion of regional integration in accordance with the operational manual of the National Offices, she recalled that "it is in recognition of the essential role that the ECOWAS National Offices play in the process of integration, that ECOWAS has decided to institutionalize the annual meetings of the Heads of National Offices of the ECOWAS Commission. These annual meetings are a platform for the exchange of ideas and a forum for discussions around the success and challenges of implementing community programs. She concluded by wishing the participants a fruitful meeting.

This 4-day working seminar organized by the ECOWAS External Relations Department, allowed the presentation of the “Aid Management Platform” during the second working day and the advantages of the brown card to the all the participants.

It will end with the adoption of a report by all participants and with recommendations that will be applied by all ECOWAS National Offices.


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