The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has dedicated about 21 billion U.S Dollars for investing in developmental projects in the economies of the 16 West African nations. The West African regional body made its decision public in the Ghanaian capital, Accra where a cream of journalists from 15 countries in the sub-region met to review and validate a comprehensive communication plan for monitoring the project. The funds will be made available through the Community Development Programme (CDP) set up by ECOWAS to oversee developmental projects in the sub-region. More than 200 targeted developmental projects in areas such as transport infrastructure, energy, agriculture, health, educational development, capacity building among others would be monitored by the CDP.
The Coordinator for the CDP, Dr Guevera Yao said ECOWAS already has seven billion dollars in their reserves and need the 21 billion to enable them to holistically implement the five-year development plan. The programme is expected to be implemented within five years beginning this year. He further explained that the projects to be implemented are proposals brought to the CDP through a survey conducted among inter-governmental organizations, Non Governmental Organizations, Civil Society Organizations and media networks in West Africa. Dr. Yao finally concluded that if the ECOWAS CDP gets the needed support to implement the projects, it will enhance the overall economic development in the sub-region by increasing the Gross Domestic Products as well as reducing poverty.
The representative of the Africa and Regional Integration Bureau of Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Sena Siaw-Boateng who chaired the event urged the media in West Africa to play a leading role in making sure that CDP meets its objectives. She also pledged the Ghanaian government’s support for the CDP, adding that other governments in the region should also show same commitment.Economic experts say if the programme is successfully and efficiently implemented, it would generate a lot of employment opportunities for citizens of the ECOWAS region. The ECOWAS CDP programme was formulated in 2008 to help with the vision of transforming the body from an organization where heads of States meet to an organization where people or citizens within the ECOWAS region can actively play a vital role in developing the region.