The Technical Validation Workshop of the Draft Cooperation Strategy for Convergence between ECOWAS and WAEMU (2024 – 2033) took place from 27 – 31 March 2023 in Dakar, Republic of Senegal. The validation workshop was attended by Directors and technical staff of both the ECOWAS Commission and WAEMU Commission and consultants that supported the development of the strategy.
The workshop was declared open by Prof. Filipa Michel SAWADOGO, the Commissioner responsible for Regional Market and Cooperation at the WAEMU Commission while the technical session was co-chaired by the Director of External Relations at the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jerome BOA and the Director of International Cooperation at the WAEMU Commission, Mr. Rabiou ALBERT BOURA.
The delegation of the ECOWAS Commission at the workshop comprised of the Executive Director of the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA), Dr. Simeon KOFFI; the Director of Customs and Taxation, Mr. Salifou TIEMTORE; the Director of Free Movement of Persons and Migration, Mr. Albert SIAW-BOATENG and the Special Advisor to the President of the Commission on Economic and Financial Integration and Partnership, Mr. Mambury NJIE. Also in attendance were Commission officials from Directorate of External Relations and the Office of the Vice President.
The cooperation strategy for convergence builds on the existing legal texts and instruments put in place by both ECOWAS and WAEMU to strengthen the cooperation and partnership between the two (2) regional integration institutions. It is aimed at identifying strategies for the effective harmonization or unification of legal and regulatory texts as well as joint management of Community programmes and projects.
The strategy document includes a diagnostic section which examines the achievements and challenges of the existing cooperation between the two (2) institutions within the convergence framework. It also contains recommendations for revitalizing the convergence process under the following key strategic areas: (i) Effective functioning of the Joint Technical Secretariat set up to oversee the cooperation; (ii) Development of
common positions on key issues; (iii) Improving the visibility and perception of the convergence process both at the level of Institutions and Member States; and (iv)Improving the governance of the convergence process through high level leadership. Finally, the strategy elaborates an action plan for implementing its recommendations.
The successful implementation of the strategy is expected to result in the following benefits for the region: (i) effective utilization of human, financial and technical resources; (ii) reduction in the enactment of conflicting texts; (iii) non-duplication of Community policies, programmes and projects; (iv) articulation of common West Africa position at international fora; and (iv) realization of economies of scale for the benefits of the population and economic operators in West Africa, which will help West Africa to fully implement its regional integration agenda.