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ECOWAS calls for strong commitment to empowering youth in region

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Friday, May 19th, 2023
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In a bid to promote peace and security, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has urged leaders to reaffirm their dedication to empowering their youth population.

During the First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, Dr Omar Alieu Touray, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, emphasized the significance of youth empowerment for both development and the prevention of their involvement in insurgent groups.

Touray highlighted that many young individuals join armed groups not out of conviction or religious beliefs but due to unemployment. He stressed the importance of addressing youth employment and providing hope to the younger generation to effectively tackle peace and security challenges.

ECOWAS has implemented a program that enables youths to gain practical skills and experience within the bloc’s institutions and agencies. This initiative allows them to contribute to the implementation of ECOWAS programs and activities.

The ECOWAS Commission adopted the ECOWAS Nnamdi Azikiwe Academic Mobility Scheme (ENAAMS) to promote regional educational development. This scheme provides opportunities for youths to acquire practical skills and experience in ECOWAS Institutions/Agencies and actively contribute to the organization’s programs and activities.

The ECOWAS Commission also organized the inaugural African Forum for Research and Innovation (FARI) in October 2023, held in Abuja. FARI serves as a platform for fostering cooperation and establishing multinational and sectoral partnerships between research professionals and decision-makers.

Addressing the issue of intra-regional trade, Touray acknowledged that ECOWAS faces a low level of trade within the community. In comparison, communities like the European Union boast intra-community trade levels exceeding 70%.

West Africa’s intra-community trade currently hovers around 13%, reaching a maximum of 15% during favorable conditions. To address this issue, the region is actively working on eliminating non-tariff barriers.

To tackle these challenges, the commission has established a Presidential Task Force led by Dr Ibn Chambers, the former President of the Commission.

This task force aims to address the non-tariff barriers that hinder trade within the community. Touray highlighted the excessive number of roadblocks between Lagos and Abuja, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts to overcome such obstacles.

Source: Vanguard News Nigeria

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