Saturday, July 13, 2024

NPP Govt’s Signing of New Power Pacts is a Vindication of the Erstwhile NDC Govt Led by John Mahama

The Deputy Minority Leader and Member of Parliament for the Ellembele constituency, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah has slammed the President Akufo Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for signing two new Take-or-Pay Power Pact Agreements (PPAs) seeking to increase the country’s power generation capacity when they criticized such a decision as reckless when they were in opposition.
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By Melvin Tejan Mansaray, Abuja-Nigeria, Saturday 4th December 2021

The Chairman of the Administration and Finance Committee (AFC) - Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Mohamed Nurudeen Ismaila has said that the suspension of Guinea, Conakry will not affect the implementation of the Fouta Djallon Highlands Programme.

“The overall objective of the Regional Integrated Development Programme of the Fouta Djallon Highlands is to ensure the protection and rational use of the natural resources of the Highlands and its areas of influence to contribute to sustainable development and improve the living standards of the population in the highland areas and sub-basins of member countries of the Programme. This will be achieved by reversing the trend in natural resource degradation in the sub-basins of member countries of the Programme,” the AFC reported.

Fouta Djallon is a highland region in the center of Guinea in West Africa. It consists mainly of rolling grasslands, at an average elevation of about 900 m (3,000 ft). The highest point, Mount Loura, rises to 1,515 m (4,970 ft). The plateau consists of thick sandstone formations that overlie granitic basement rock. Erosion by rain and rivers has carved deep jungle canyons and valleys into the sandstone.

In an exclusive interview with this Writer, at the ongoing ECOWAS Parliament's Second Ordinary Session of 2021 (November 29th to December 18th, 2021) just after presenting the draft 2022 Community Budget of the ECOWAS Commission on Saturday 4th December 2021 at the International Conference Center, Garki, Abuja-Nigeria, Ismaila said that the proposed 2022 UA 393.612.400 Community Budget is realistic, noting that “the budget is based on realistic figures on the initial income."

" We realized that we were not able to mobilize a hundred percent in previous years, we saw that mobilization rate was maximum eighty percent, so we revised it to eighty percent, which is very positive," Ismaila said.

On the concern of Hon. Califa Seidi’, Guinea Bissau as to how will the military takeover in Guinea, Conakry, and subsequent suspension of Guinea and Mali by the Authority of Heads of State affect the implementation of the Fouta Djallon Programme, Chairman Ismaila said the concerns expressed by a Member of the ECOWAS Parliament is in place but the suspension will not affect the implementation of the Programme.

“The suspension of Guinea from the ECOWAS will not affect the fruition or the implementation of the Fouta Djallon Programme. Guinea is only suspended from the ECOWAS and in the protocol, when you are on suspension you are so bound by all obligations of ECOWAS. The suspension is just a symbolic gesture. We also think that eventually, they will come back. They are not going to be suspended forever. Why should we suspend Programmes because of the suspension of a Member State? Besides, the Programme is not only for Guinea. It is for the other Member States. The benefits are not only for Guinea, it benefits other member states too. If you read the memorandum, you will realize that the Fouta Djallon Highlands is the source (water tower) and it cuts across the Niger River and the Mano River,” Chairman Ismaila said.

Questioned on what if the military government in Conakry becomes reluctant to cooperate with the ECOWAS in retaliation of the Authority of Heads of State decision to suspend them from the regional body, Chairman Ismail said, “We don’t foresee any reluctance on the part of the Guinean government. They will not be reluctant because the Programme belongs to the entire Community. The benefits are for the Community peoples and I don’t see the Guinean government being reluctant.”

The AFC Chairman was speaking following the presentation of the final report of the ‘Thirtieth Meeting of the Administration and Finance Committee,’ held from 25th November – 2nd December 2021 in Abuja-Nigeria for which Guinea and Mali did not participate due to their suspension from all ECOWAS governing bodies by the Authority of Heads of State and Government.

Represented at the meeting were representatives of ECO Institutions and Specialized Agencies such as the ECOWAS Commission, ECOWAS Parliament, Community Court of Justice, West African Health Organization (WAHO), Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), and the Office of the Auditor-General.

As part of its adoption of agenda and work programme, it was resolved that as item No.8 , ‘Presentation and Consideration of Memorandum on the Institutional Framework for the Regional Integrated Development Programme of the Fouta Djallon Highlands.’

The AFC’s final report indicated that at the thirtieth meeting of the AFC, “ The Commissioner in charge of Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources presented a memorandum on the institutional arrangement of the Regional Integrated Development Programme of the Fouta Djallon Highlands for ECOWAS Commission to bear the costs of supporting the Programme Coordinator based in Abuja and the Programme Observatory Officer of the Programme based in Guinea.”

The AFC 77th Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Monrovia on 16th December 2016 approved the transfer of the Fouta Djallon Programme from the African Union to the ECOWAS and the Transfer Act on the transfer of PRAI MFD from the African Union to the ECOWAS, signed on 24th October 2018 in Addis Ababa took effect from that date.

The annual operating budget of the Programme is estimated at UA 201,719,68 with the need to recruit a Program Coordination Officer and the Programme Observatory Officer assisted by a driver.

The AFC reportedly lauded the memorandum of the Programme after seeking clarifications and recommended to the Council that it consider and approve it. The AFC however further requested that quarterly performance reports should be submitted to the ECOWAS Commission and bi-annual reports to AFC.

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By Melvin Tejan Mansaray, Abuja-Nigeria, Tuesday 7th December 2021

Members of the newly elected Bureau of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Female Parliamentary Association (ECOFEPA) have vowed to put together a binding document for National Assemblies to send in more women to the Community Parliament.

This disclosure was made on Tuesday 7th December 2021 at Room No.9, International Conference Center, Garki, Abuja-Nigeria, just after the conduct of the ECOFEPA Executive election for a new Bureau to replace the Hon. Isa Filomena Pereira Soares Da Costa (Cabo Verde) - led executive .

The newly elected ECOFEPA Bureau comprises, Hon. Woraye Sarr (Senegal) President-elect, Hon. Biodun Christine Olujimi (Nigeria) 1st Vice President-elect, Gabriela Alfredo Fernadez (Gunea Bissau) 2nd Vice President-elect, Hon. Moussokoura Chantal Fanny (Cote d'Ivoire) Secretary-General and Hon. Laadi Ayii Ayamba (Ghana) Treasurer.

The honorable Members of the ECOWAS Parliament (MEPs) of the new Bureau replaces, Hon. Isa Filomena Pereira Soares Da Costa (Cabo Verde) President, Hon. Kaboule Reine Bertille Sakande Benao (Burkina Faso) 1st Vice President, Hon. Biodun Olujimi (Nigeria) as 2nd Vice President and, Hon. Guiro Oulimata (Senegal) was appointed to serve as Secretary-General while Hon. Fatoumatta Njai.

Responding to a question posed by this Writer, on what the new Bureau’ plan to reverse the seeming plummeting trend of women’s participation in the Community Parliament which saw a drop from 25 female MEMs in the previous Community Assembly and now, 21 in the current Fifth Legislature of 115 MEMs, the First Vice President-elect, Hon. Olujimi said, “ it is what the newly elected President will have to bring on board.”

She added: “We have never had a clear cut arrangement on how many women should be brought to the Community Parliament by each country, but we will sit down and we will have a document that will be binding on all the Member States so that we can bring in at least thirty percent or forty percent of women into the ECOWAS Parliament.”

Hon. Olujimi confirmed that for now there is no plan on the number of women that should be sent to the ECOWAS Parliament by countries, noting that, “ but we will have to work on it. We have already missed the mark but there is no way we won't work on it because most of the countries of West Africa believe in gender parity and so we don’t have a choice other than to work on that. Nigeria is the biggest country, amongst thirty-five MEPs we have only two women.”

In her farewell message to members of the ECOFEPA, outgoing President of ECOFEPA, Hon. Isa Filomena Pereira Soares Da Costa (Cabo Verde) thanked the leadership and support of the Community Parliament, citing the Speaker Hon. Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis for his dedication to advancing the course of women. She congratulated the new Bureau bidding farewell having served in the Parliament since 2002.

“I have been attached to this Parliament and I will continue to fight for the course of women and girls for social development in the areas of agriculture, politics, etc,” She said, registering her best of wishes for the new Bureau in their quest to fight against child marriage, sexual and gender based violence, female genital mutilation and the rights of women to own properties.

In her submission, Hon. Kaboule Reine Bertille Sakande Benao (Burkina Faso) congratulates the new Bureau and wished them well in their undertakings. She however pledged support to the incoming Bureau and their vision to defend women's issues not only at the ECOWAS Parliament but also in other National Assemblies.

“I call on the new Bureau to make the thirty percent women’s representation a reality,” paying tribute to Hon. Olujimi for her gifts and efforts towards ECOFEPA.

ECOFEPA was established in the year 2002 to support and encourage ECOWAS Community programmes that promote the social, economic, and cultural development of the peoples of West Africa, bringing a parliamentary and political approach to the ECOWAS gender mainstreaming and towards the execution of the ECOWAS gender policy.

However, among the ECOWAS Parliament’s Standing Committees, is that of the Committee on Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment.

The Committee is responsible for matters relating to: Development of an ECOWAS policy on equal opportunities, including equality between men and women concerning employment opportunities; Harmonization of labor laws and legislation on social security; Promoting the exchange of skilled manpower among Member States, Promotion of literacy, professional training, and employment; Protection of the children’s rights and other vulnerable groups; Development of appropriate measures for the protection and assistance of children and other vulnerable groups; Monitoring the local integration of ECOWAS citizen refugees under the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Establishment; Considering issues causing humanitarian emergencies and their impact on ECOWAS Citizens; Harmonization of legislation on social protection; Solidarity building at the community level; Removal of all constraints that inhibit women from maximizing their contributions and benefits in the sub-regional integration effort; Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, including customary practices; Harmonization of associations of West African Women’s organization with relevant bilateral, multilateral and governmental Organizations.

The new ECOFEPA Bureau members will be sworn into t office any time soon to hit the ground running in ensuring that they live up to the expectation and notion that charity begins at home with more women at the Community Parliament which can then be cascaded to other spheres of the Community Institutions.

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By Melvin Tejan Mansaray, Abuja Nigeria

The President of the Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS) Commission has shed light on the interventions of the
Commission on issues of women's empowerment and food security among other things that are affecting the prosperity and development of sub-region.

The President's accentuation on the issues was prompted by wide-ranging concerns by Members of the ECOWAS Parliament on the impact of these issues on the peoples of the sub-region.

President Brou's comments came following his presentation at the ECOWAS Parliament’s Second Ordinary Session of the 5th Legislature’s ‘2021 Report on the State of the Community,’ on Wednesday 1st December 2021, in Abuja, Nigeria.

Dr. Brou's twenty-two pages report contained an introduction or context, the COVID-19 pandemic, security, and political development, economic outlook, key programs of the Commission, other institutions' programs, and a conclusion, all of which provoked a torrent of concerns, questions, and comments from some fifteen lawmakers that took the Floor from across the sub-region.

In response to the MPs reaction to the report he presented, Dr. Brou began by clarifying that contrary to submissions of some of the Lawmakers that his report was not comprehensive, there is a detailed report but since they were asked to be briefed,  that is why the Commission presented a summary report.

On the issue of women’s empowerment, President Brou said in 2020 they noticed well over six hundred maternal mortality due to related difficulties, adding that “ so we had to support seven countries on family planning.”

" We made financial contributions to bolster girl child enrollment. We supported the construction of health centers in several countries in addition to what we are doing in the Gender Center in Dakar concerning the fistula project as well as socio-economic activities,  so we are going to develop our intervention in that sector because like we said, it is all about continuity so we will ramp up our support to women and girls in every aspect of gender consideration," Dr. Brou said.

Reacting to another concern  around food insecurity in the sub-region, the President of the ECWOAS Commission, Dr. Brou   said the Commission the response is that food security is closely intertwined  with deteriorating physical security on the people, adding that “ of course you cannot rule out banditry in several countries as well as the impact of climate change which has adversely impacted agricultural production.”

Dr. Brou further explained that:   “This year we saw that the climate situation was unfavorable which translates into difficulty in agricultural production. The ECOWAS is doing three things: first, we have our security buffer stock that was deployed. Several countries requested that we provide food and grain support from the various stocks that we have in various countries. Whenever there is an internal need in a country, we immediately offer assistance to that country, and then we restock, and currently, we are increasing the capacity as we have noticed an increase in the number of requests for ECOWAS reserves. This is the immediate response in case of emergencies in certain countries; as soon as we are contacted we respond and this will continue.”

On the second approach to food stability and sufficiency, President Brou said there is a midterm response of each member state to increase production adding that “ of course we need to  address insecurity because there is no way peasant farmers will go to their farms to grow crops, so we need to ensure  that there is improved security; beyond the security situation, we also have the issues of the capacity deployed to support production.”

He said the ECOWAS is having the general idea of helping to boost production, agricultural processes, and food crops, in particular, one of the projects which they are placing a premium in every ECOWAS the Member States.

“The third factor which has negatively impacted on food crops and production is climate change  - beyond insecurity, shortage of rainfall or inadequate rainfall is a problem and to address this we have come up with resilience programs against climate change and we are trying to implement in several countries,” President Brou noted are some of the responses that the ECOWAS Commission has been offering in the short and medium-term to boost agricultural production in various countries in the sub-region.

The issue of the ECOWAS vision 2050 witnessed some amount of reluctance on the side of MPs to deliberate, although but a few contributed to its debate, the documents were committed to a special committee to look into and revert accordingly. Dr. Brou said, “yes there was a vision 2020 before the vision 2050 which was done by a a consultant who evaluated it against vision 2020’s lessons learned. It was on the strength of vision 2020 that vision 2050 was developed and the idea was that we should learn from the past as to what to do for the future,” the ECOWAS Commission President said.

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Chairman of the Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer-Review Mechanism (APRM) of ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe Jr., said fact-finding missions of the parliament can be debated on at plenary and a resolution taken, then sent to the Commission for onwards submission to Authority of Heads of States.

According to him, an understanding of the relevant provisions of the Supplementary Act is therefore supported both by practice (regular consideration of the regional political and security situation, fact-finding mission, conflict mediation, among others) and by the provision of Article 41 Paragraph (2) of the Supplementary Act which states that.

Chapter V special provisions, “in exceptional circumstances and in conformity with Community objectives, the Parliament may by Resolution request the President to activate the mechanism for conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security”.

In a statement, he noted that, having read a news article published by the online news outlet, Ghanamp.com, under the caption, “Peace and Security not included in ECOWAS Parliament’s enhanced powers”, I feel obliged to issue this rebuttal as Chair of the Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer- Review Mechanism of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Chairman political Affairs Senator Edwin Snowe Jr.

The ECOWAS Parliament was established under Article 6 and 13 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993. The Protocol relating to the Parliament was signed in Abuja on 6 August 1994 and entered into force on 14 March 2002. It provides for the structure, composition, competences, and other matters relating to the Parliament. In December 2016, the Supplementary Act relating to the Enhancement of Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament was adopted. This further strengthens the operations of the Parliament, including its objectives and competences.

Article 4 of the Supplementary Act spells out the objectives for which the Parliament was established. Article 4 Paragraph (a) charges the Parliament to contribute to the efficient and effective implementation of the objectives and policies of the Community. That confers upon the Parliament the moral obligation to contribute to and support the Community Strategic Framework and the ECOWAS Vision, of which peace and security is a key component.

Specifically, Article 4 Paragraph (d) states that the Parliament was established to contribute to the promotion of peace, security, and stability in the West African region. It states further, in Article 4 Paragraph (e), that the Parliament would promote and defend the principles of human rights, democracy, the rule of law, transparency, accountability and good governance. With these clearly laid out objectives, one cannot divorce regional peace and security from the powers of the Parliament.

Furthermore, Article 7(d) states that “Parliament may consider any matter concerning the Community, in particular issues relating to Human Right and Fundamental Freedoms and make recommendations to the institutions and organs of the Community. In this regard, it may constitute committees of enquiry and may mediate on the matter. In this case, peace and security are fundamental human rights to which all citizens of the Community are entitled. As such, the Parliament reserves the right, by virtue of this Act, to conduct enquires, fact-finding, and mediation missions when required.

Relating to referrals to the Parliament, there are mandatory and non-mandatory referrals. Peace and Security matters are not among the areas for mandatory referrals as cited in Article 9 of the Supplementary Act. However, Community defense, peace, and security policies are expressly cited as non-mandatory referrals in Article 10 Paragraph (d), which means the option of referring such matters to Parliament or Parliament being involved is still opened.

Rt. Hon Speaker Tunis left and chairman of Political Affairs right

Moreover, Article 25 Paragraph (D) provides that the Parliament, in order to facilitate its work, may establish Standing Committees. The modalities of the organization and mandate of the Standing Committees shall be provided in the rules of procedures of Parliament. The Parliament, in its Rules of Procedures, established the Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security, and African Peer Review Mechanism. It provides that this Committee shall be responsible for matters relating to:

  1. Regional peace, stability and security by seeking to promote and strengthen good neighborliness;
  2. Follow up on the status of implementation of Community Texts on peace, security, democracy, and good governance.
  3. Promotion and consolidation of a democratic system of governance in each Member State as envisaged by ECOWAS declaration of Political Principles adopted in Abuja on 6 July 1991;
  4. Assisting in parliamentary mediation missions aimed at achieving peaceful resolution of disputes among Member States, cooperation between neighboring States and promotion of peace, a catalyst of economic development.
  5. Strengthening cooperation in the area of conflict prevention, early warning, peacekeeping operations, control of cross-border crime; international terrorism, proliferation of small arms and anti-personnel mines.

Contextualizing the above, it’s no gainsaying that the Parliament, through this Committee, must, as a matter of fundamental responsibility, work to ensure that the Community is peaceful and secure.

Evidently, the ECOWAS Parliament, based upon these legal provisions, has established for itself an enviable record of peace keeping and mediation. Parliament, as a matter of parliamentary diplomacy, was involved in the search for peace in the Mano River Union (MRU), where Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia had fragile peace. Parliament also initiated peace talks between the Liberians United Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebels and the Liberian Government, mediated the 2018 conflict in the Sierra Leonean Parliament, and many others. Parliament also regularly conducts Fact- Finding Missions prior to elections and ensure its observers are on ground to observe elections across the region.

Notwithstanding these achievements, we are fully aware and agree that the direct elections of members into the Parliament will confer new competences on the Parliament and would transform the Parliament into a truly independent and democratic body, and all efforts are being directed towards achieving that. While we work towards the realization of this democratic legacy, we take pride in the work we do to, as a Parliament, to keep our region peaceful and secure.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

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The Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has called for the implementation of the regulations on mobile roaming services within the ECOWAS sub-region in order to accelerate regional development.

In his view, regional development can only be achieved by ensuring that the ECOWAS regulation which was adopted by the Council of Ministers on the 16th of December 2017 is implemented.

The Regulation on Roaming of Public Mobile Communications Networks in the sub-region is supposed to ensure affordability, quality and also enable the efficient use of Information Communication Technology tools.

“According to the World Bank report 2018, there are over 320 million mobile phone subscribers in the sub-region. However, the uptake of mobile data in the sub-region remains a serious challenge. It is a fact that most of the ECOWAS nationals who travel to other countries in the sub-region have to pay higher premiums on mobile usage, while others have to change their sim cards to have access to the network available in their new destination,” he said.

The Speaker made the call in his opening remarks at the Delocalized Committee Meeting of the ECOWAS Parliament, which is currently ongoing at Winneba in the Central Region.

Invited as the Special guest of honour, the Rt. Hon. Speaker Alban Sumana Bagbin joined the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Mohammed Tunis to officially open the meeting which is scheduled to take place from Tuesday, July 27 to Friday, July 30, 2021.

The Delocalized Meeting of the Joint Committee on: Political Affairs, security and APRM/Legal Affairs and Human Rights/Telecommunications and Information Technology, is under the theme: “The Role of Telecommunications and Information Technology (TIT) in Achieving Regional Development, Peace, Security and Human Rights.”

The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Mohammed Tunis on his part, reemphasized the role of Telecommunication and Information Technology in transforming societies and fueling the growth of the global economy. He urged the Members of the Joint Committees to use the opportunity to find Telecommunications and Information Technology solutions to the challenges facing the various countries in the sub-region.

He said, “a lot of challenges bedeviling our region already have their solutions in ICTs. Therefore, the deliberations of Members of the Joint Committee over the next few days should lead to sound recommendations for our community in this regard.

“As the region is currently being affected by waves of violent extremism and terrorism, humanitarian crisis and global pandemics, Members must consider the merits of the latest technological advancements, innovations and intelligence as viable tools to curb insecurity.”

While he stressed that the sub-regional community still have so much to do in optimizing the gains of ICT since the opportunities remain largely untapped, he recognized the strides which have been made by the Government of the host country, Ghana in bringing the country into the global future of ICT.

According to Dr. Tunis, the choice of Ghana for this delocalized joint committee meeting should not come as a surprise as Ghana continues to accelerate developmental policies in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector which have impacted positively on the overall growth of the Ghanaian economy.

He said, “Today, Ghana has become a major ICT hub in West Africa. The decision by Tech companies to situate their continental headquarters in Ghana, does not only demonstrate the effort of the Government in bringing the country into the global future, but also, reveals the conducive business environment in Ghana that is attracting these ICT giants.”

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

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Ghana is playing host to the Delocalized Committee Meeting of the ECOWAS Parliament to deliberate on matters of Telecommunications and Information Communication Technology in the West African Sub-region.

“High on the agenda is the quest to find a common ground to develop some level of convergence in terms of the institutions across the various countries both in terms of regulations and service charges,” said Afenyo Markin, Chairman of Ghana’s delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament.

The meeting which is scheduled to last for five days, will start from Monday, July 26 to Friday, July 30, 2021 where delegations from 15 member countries would be hosted at Winneba in the central region.

Though the ECOWAS Parliament sits in Abuja, Nigeria, countries in the sub-region are encouraged to host localized meetings of the various committees in order to reach out to the people in the communities.

This particularly meeting being hosted by Ghana under the theme: Telecommunication and Information Technology and its Impacts on Security and Human Rights in the sub-region, is a joint meeting by three committees of the sub-regional Parliament.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who also doubles as the Chairman of the ECOWAS Heads of State and the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rt. Hon. Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, will join the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mohammed Tunis to officially open the meeting.

Briefing the Parliamentary Press Corps on the purpose of the meeting at the precincts of Parliament on Friday, July 23, 2021, the spokesperson for the meeting in Ghana, Mahama Ayariga intimated that, due to the major role telecommunication and information technology is indeed playing in the lives of the people in the sub-region, the committees have come together to invite experts to advice its members of these developments.

“But more importantly, we meet so that we see how we can develop some level of convergence in terms of the institutions across the various countries both in terms of regulations service charges among others.

“As you all know, there has been an explosion in terms of the reach of telecommunication and an expansion of infrastructure across the sub-region. Almost every nook and cranny of the sub-region is mostly networked now and almost every citizen now possesses a cell phone. And we do many things using telecommunication infrastructure and new information technology platforms.

“The financial sector, if you just take as an example mobile money platform and how it has revolutionized the financial sector within such a very short period of time amazes all of us. But that is how far we have come as a sub-region.

“If you also see the extent to which politically, social media has become a major platform for political expression by citizens. It has become a major organizing tool for political actors and social organization across the sub-region. And we also know the extent to which we are all using all forms of technology in our elections, both in voter registration, in campaign and in election itself.”

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

[post_date_unix] => 1627137676 [post_date] => July 24, 2021 [post_modified] => July 24, 2021 [post_author_url] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/author/parliamentnews360/ [post_author_name] => Clement Akoloh [post_author_email] => senaakoloh@gmail.com [post_comments_no] => 0 [post_comments_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/ghana-hosts-delocalized-meeting-of-ecowas-parliament-on-telecommunication/#respond [post_theme_settings] => Array ( ) ) [695] => Array ( [post_id] => 695 [post_type] => post [has_post_thumbnail] => 1 [post_thumbnail_id] => 696 [post_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/ecowas-parliament-speaker-bags-honorary-doctorate-degree-from-alma-mater/ [post_title] => ECOWAS Parliament Speaker Bags Honorary Doctorate Degree from Alma Mater [post_title_attribute] => ECOWAS Parliament Speaker Bags Honorary Doctorate Degree from Alma Mater [post_excerpt] => [post_content] =>

By Lizzy Okoji

Bong County (Liberia)- Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis has been conferred with an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the Cuttington University, Bong County Liberia in recognition of his contributions to the ECOWAS Sub-region.

Tunis bagged the honorary doctorate degree on Saturday during the University’s 14th commencement convocation of its School of Graduate and Professional Studies.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the honorary doctorate was conferred on his by his Alma Mater for his contributions to the ECOWAS sub-region as Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Speaking to Journalists, Tunis who was elated on the conferment of the honorary doctorate in said he will continue to do more to advance the cause of West Africa and its citizens.

He said that he will use his position as Speaker of the Parliament to bring ECOWAS Closer to the people and the community Parliament.

“I feel very happy. Apart from being Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, this is also my Alma Mater.

“I graduated from Cuttington in 1989 and today I have been given this honor and I thank the Almighty Allah for his blessings.

“When I took over as Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament in 2020 I said that I will bring the ECOWAS Parliament to the people.

“Ad with this honor today I will continue to ensure that ECOWAS reflects indeed that of the people’s parliament, that of the community parliament,” Tunis said.

Earlier in his commencement address, Tunis urged the grandaunts to see themselves as a tool for an intergrated Africa, stating that the youths are the future of Africa’s development.
He also commended their resilience for pushing through their academic year amidst the unique situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As you graduate today, see yourselves as a realisation of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s call for a more integrated Africa that is focused on attaining inclusive and sustainable development.

“The continent’s AU Agenda 2063 remains a shared aspiration for transforming our continent into a group of prosperous, equitable, and integrated nations.

“In your sundry contribution towards the collective future of the Great Republic of Liberia, your contributions are critical towards this shared continental aspiration especially in the post-COVID era.

“The new Africa will be led by young, innovative, and enterprising persons like you. You have the obligation to control the new economic scramble for Africa.

“By ensuring that you are active participants in the global economy and can therefore participate as equal partners.

“COVID-19 may have slowed down economies and altered lives and livelihoods but your graduation today is new cause for optimism that we will prevail over the worst and triumph with the best.

“An African renaissance is possible with young and agile minds like yours and we therefore must celebrate you today as an addition to that critical mass that will transform the future of our continent,” Tunis said.

President of the University, Dr Herman Browne while conferring the doctorate honors on Tunis said the institution was honoring him in recognition of his contributions to ECOWAS as speaker of the Parliament.

Brown however urged the speaker to continue in his good works and push towards the development and integration of the sub-region.

He commended Tunis for his contributions to global, humanitarian and national movements which has further earned him several recognitions and awards.

Speaking on behalf of the ECOWAS Parliament delegation, Mr Bertin Some, Direction of Parliamentary Affairs and Research congratulated Tunis on receiving the honorary degree.

Some said it was a well-deserved recognition as the Speaker has shown himself worthy of t through all he has done heading the affairs of the Parliament.

“This is a unique occasion and a wonderful occasion that we have today.

“We want to commend his efforts because it is the acknowledgement of all his efforts that made him get this recognition and the ECOWAS parliament is very proud of that.

“We want to encourage him to continue to do more in his tenure as Speaker”, Some said.

Source:parliamentnews360.com

[post_date_unix] => 1618843102 [post_date] => April 19, 2021 [post_modified] => April 19, 2021 [post_author_url] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/author/parliamentnews360/ [post_author_name] => Clement Akoloh [post_author_email] => senaakoloh@gmail.com [post_comments_no] => 0 [post_comments_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/ecowas-parliament-speaker-bags-honorary-doctorate-degree-from-alma-mater/#respond [post_theme_settings] => Array ( ) ) [678] => Array ( [post_id] => 678 [post_type] => post [has_post_thumbnail] => 1 [post_thumbnail_id] => 679 [post_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/johnson-sirleaf-urges-ecoparl-speaker-to-keep-championing-cause-of-african-women/ [post_title] => Johnson Sirleaf Urges ECOParl Speaker to Keep Championing Cause of African women [post_title_attribute] => Johnson Sirleaf Urges ECOParl Speaker to Keep Championing Cause of African women [post_excerpt] => [post_content] =>

By Lizzy Okoji

Monrovia (Liberia), April 16, 2021 (NAN) Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of the Republic of Liberia has called on Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis to continue in his effort s of championing the cause of West African women.

Sirleaf made the call when she received Tunis who led the delegation of the ECOWAS Parliament (ECOPARL) on a courtesy visit to her resident in Monrovia.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the visit follows the successful completion of the ECOWAS Parliament deocalised meeting of “Empowerment of Women in the West-African Sub-region”.

The meeting of the ECOPARL Joint Committee on Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment, Education, Science and Culture, Health seeks to proffer solutions to issues affecting women in the sub-region.

Sirleef however lauded all the efforts and initiative of Tunis in driving forward the cause of the West African women, to ensure their inclusion across all sectors especially increased representation in the ECOWAS Parliament.

“I am pleased to see many women in this gathering and that brings me to say that except for Senegal, our countries have not done well in politics and we need to do more.

“We cannot do it unless you lead us. I will need to recognize the value and contributions of women to the peace, security and development.

“So I will call upon you as the head of the Parliament to be a champion for ensuring that as we go into elections in all of our countries, we have a minimum of 30 per cent representation of women.

“That we get what has been the ECOWAS standard, trying to conform with International Standard by the year, and that is that we seek to have minimum 30 per cent and we are not asking for too much.

“We like to see as women that we are equal in every way to men, we like to see that if we get that minimum then I think we will have so many women.

“And that we work very strongly through coalition and collaboration to help even push harder for the achievements of our development goals.

“I want to thank all the Parliamentarians for all you have done to keep the fire burning, to keep pushing all of our countries to meet the goals aspirations of ECOWAS.

“And as long as you continue to do that, you will get the support and I assure you that all the ECOWAS leaders will stand by you,” Sirleef said.

Sirleef note that ECOWAS today stands as one of the best performing regions in the continent in terms of its solidarity, in terms of its decisions to enforce those regulations for all, hence the need to work hard to sustain it.

She urged Parliamentarians to continue to work hard so that the West African continent remains an example to other regions of the continent.

Speaking Earlier, Tunis said Sirleef’s position as first female President in Africa is a precedent set by the West African region which must be sustained.

Tunis also commended Liberia for being a model of women empowerment to other African Countries.

The Speaker said that the resolutions from the delocalized meeting which was a success would be forwarded to Sirleef.

“We have been here for about a week now at the delocalized meeting with the theme empowerment of women in the ECOWAS Sub-region.

“We believe that your election as the first female President in Africa and just few years down the line the election of her Excellency Joy Taylor as Vice President demonstrates the fact that Liberia is already a model in women empowerment.

“You have already demonstrated it and throughout your tenure as President of Liberia you did everything possible to empower women and to promote women.

“So we believe that if we are having a meeting of such nature in Liberia our first point of call should be here.

“We waited to finish the session to bring the resolution to you as soon as that is done you will receive it.

“We have had a very fruitful meeting, the presentations from the experts were excellent and I must say we are very elated about that to chart a way forward to women’s empowerment in the sub-region,” Tunis said.

Source:parliamentnews360.com

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By Melvin Tejan Mansaray

Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have ended a delocalized meeting of the Joint Committee on Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment / Education, Science and Culture / Health, in Monrovia, Liberia.

The three days (13th 15th, April 2021) session focused on the theme, “Empowerment of Women in the ECOWAS Region,” was opened by the Speaker of the Liberian Parliament, Honorable Dr. Bhofal Chambers, featuring special addresses from the Liberian First Lady Her Excellency Ambassador Clar Marie Weah, her husband, Liberia’s President, George M. Weah and other top officials in the Liberian Government and also the ECOWAS Speaker, Hon. Mohamed Sidie Tunis among dignitaries.

During the deliberations, there were series of panel discussions on, “Lessons learned at the end of the African Union’s African Women’s Decade and ways to improve the next decade for women," moderated by Councilor Yvette Chesson-Wureh, Establishment Coordinator, Angle Brooks International Centre (for women's empowerment) and Co-Chair, Fem-Wise ECOWAS and also featured Madam Leyman Gbowee, Noble Laureate for peace-building and Madam Ceru Konah Garlo, Gender Specialist, the Carter Center, Liberia which was accompanied by an interactive session with discussants.

On the second day, Madam Salamata Konate Quattara, Gender and Social Affairs Specialist, Burkina Faso, delivered a presentation on, “ The best strategies to empower women working in the informal sector in West Africa,” with a perspective also given by a representative of the UN Women in Liberia.
Liberia’s Gender, Children and Social Affairs Minister Madam Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr however delivered a presentation on the theme, “Steps taken by the Republic of Liberia to implement Article 63 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty on Women and their Development,” which was conjoined with a perspective from Madam Oretha T. Dennis, Executive Director ECOWAS Civil Society Movement Liberia.

Another presentation on, “The Role of the Community Parliament in Promoting Women’s Political Participation and Empowerment,” was delivered by Madam Fatima Siga Jagne, Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, ECOWAS Commission, co-presented by Sen. Nyonblee Karngga-Lawrence, Chairperson, Senate Committee on Rules, Order and Administration and Political Leader of the Liberty Party.

The presentations however attracted an enlightening debate from Members of the Community Parliament's Joint Committee, which were followed by key recommendations to the ECOWAS Parliament, Commission, and the Member States.

On the third day, the ECOWAS Speaker, Hon. Tunis and delegation paid a courtesy visit to the Government of the Republic of Liberia, and later in the day, the Joint Committee members and participants converged at the Ministerial Complex to consider and adopt a draft report on their deliberations.

In its draft adopted report’s conclusions and recommendations, the Joint Committee said that ECOWAS Member States: “ Need to design educational programmes for both the girl-child and the boy–child so that no child is left behind. Carry out advocacy campaigns on the need for education. The need for inter-member state cooperation and coordination on the issue of child marriage especially in cases of children who are smuggled from one country and forced marriage, etc.”

The draft report which is to be adopted by the plenary session of the Community Parliament also, recommends that the ECOWAS Commission, “Organise a regional conference on FGM to develop a strong regional policy on the matter that includes measures that criminalize its practice and contain the punitive measures to be taken if caught.”

The Joint Committee however recommended that the ECOWAS Parliament is to: “ Develop a regional affirmative bill or a regional common approach on gender parity that is fair and balance. Ensure that there is at least one woman from every country's delegation represented in the Bureau of Standing Committees to ensure that women can take part in the decision-making process. Organize sensitization mission to be undertaken on the need to build the capacities and self-confidence of women. Advocate for the elaboration of a community test on gender parity. Organization of an urgent meeting with the Ministers in charge of Gender and the Department of Social Affairs and Gender, ECOWAS Commission to discuss the issues of women's participation in politics and, Institute regular border visits to oversee gender issues and discuss with women informal cross border traders.”

The Joint Committee members however made a few minor corrections to the draft adopted report, for which the Director of Parliamentary Affairs ECOWAS Parliament said they will be duly reflected upon the submission of the draft Joint Committee report to the plenary session of the Parliament.

In his closing remarks, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Mohamed Sidie Tunis said that it is gratifying to witness the successful end of the all-important meeting, adding that “ the meeting by every standard was educative, inspiring and enriching.”

“ This is due to the topical nature of the theme as well as it is important to the well-being of our people because whatever affects our women, affects our children, and will subsequently affect our future. I am happy to note that this meeting had a beautiful opening ceremony, which was graced by the President of Liberia, His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah and Madam First Lady, Hon Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ministers, and other officials of the Liberian Government, Members of the Civil Society Organizations as well as Members of the Fourth Estate.”

H.E. Hon Tunis however profoundly thanked the several experts and resource persons for their highly educative and enlightening presentations made, adding that, "the deliberations that followed were thoroughly enriching, provided important insights that are expected to lead in inform working actions and positions to let us address issues affecting women.” He commended the efforts of colleague MPs for demonstrating a commitment to address the gender disparity that exists in West Africa.

“The frank exchanges from all participants has helped us identify issues affecting women's economic and political empowerment and the role that the Parliament can play in their economic and political empowerment. Furthermore, key recommendations emanating from this meeting will be forwarded to line institutions through the ECOWAS Commission to aid Member States in implementing Article 63 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty which empowers the ECOWAS Member States to take charge in addressing women’s issues and their development,” assuring that, “ the ECOWAS Parliament working with all stakeholders will endeavor to ensure that women's issues are addressed to the fullest.”

In her vote of thanks, Hon. Laadi Agii Ayamba, MP PusiaddresByng, East Region, Ghana thanked the Liberian people for their legendary hospitality, commended the ECOWAS Speaker's efficiency and commitment in the execution of his mandate, appreciates the participant's unfailing mobilization, support staff, interpreters translators for their active contribution. She commended the resource persons for their presentations and expressed gratitude to all including the Liberian Speaker of Parliament and Head of Delegation, Sen. Edwin Melvin Snowe, and paid tribute to the President of Liberia

However, the Community Parliament continues its work on Friday when the ECOWAS Lawmakers and delegations are to take a field visit to Gbarnga, Bong County to interact with market women on their economic empowerment, and on Saturday 17th April, for an excursion.

Source:parliamentnews360.com

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