Business News of 2014-05-19

Use ECOWAS to attract investors – Hannah Tetteh to West Africans

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hannah Tetteh, has stressed the need for people in the West African Sub-Region to be more creative about regional integration to have the opportunity to attract more investors to the Sub-Region.

She noted that most of the people within the Sub-Region have not realized the relevance of ECOWAS because governments have not been able to operationalize the structures for its effectiveness and efficiency.

Ms Tetteh was delivering the keynote address at a day’s ECOWAS Sensitization Workshop for Public Sector Workers in the Brong-Ahafo Region in Sunyani.

It was on the theme “Enhancing Public Sector Participation in the ECOWAS Regional Integration Process,” and attended by Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in the Region.

The workshop was organized by the Ministry in collaboration with Media Response, a Civil Society Organisation, and similar ones have been held in the Greater-Accra, Eastern, Volta, Western, Central and Ashanti Regions.

Ms Tetteh said there is the need to work towards “an ECOWAS of People and not ECOWAS of Governments”, and therefore it will be appropriate for people in the Sub-Region to review and see what they can do differently to move ECOWAS forward.

She called for collaborative efforts to deal with the challenges facing ECOWAS Integration, since its establishment 39 years ago, and overcome them to make it effective.

Ms Tetteh was hopeful that President John Dramani Mahama being the current Chairman of ECOWAS, would implement the vision of peace and security, economic integration and infrastructure development towards addressing the objectives of ECOWAS when sworn into office would facilitate free trade and movement.

She noted, however, that most of the ECOWAS Protocols have not been implemented as required and cited Brong Ahafo Region which shares border with La Cote D’Ivoire, as having not been able to manage the process along their common borders losing many mutual benefits.

Ms Tetteh said there were many security challenges that were important to dialogue on them to minimize security threats, adding “Next year countries sharing borders with Ghana will conduct elections with heightened tension and the incidence of terrorism in the Sub-Region.”

She said the fact that terrorist activities are not prominence in Ghana with the free movement of people, any citizen in the Sub-Region can move in a peaceful and secured region to focus on achieving the goals and aspirations of ECOWAS supposed to be of people and not State.

Eric Opoku, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister said regional integration required the commitment and dedication of all and sundry to provide the needed push for its successful implementation.