By John Okeke
The Gambian President, Adama Barrow has stressed the need for ECOWAS member States to put sharper focus on the implementation of ECOWAS Protocols in order to achieve greater regional integration.
President Barrow, while declaring open on Thursday, the Parliamentary Seminar for the Outgoing Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament, taking place in Banjul, Gambia, pointed out that institutional capacity remains a major driver of regional integration and must therefore be prioritized.
The Gambian President, while also bemoaning the high rate of youths migration into Europe, charged political leaders in the subregion to seek to entrench the respect for the fundamental principles of good governance and dialogue as a means of conflict resolution, in order to provide the needed environment for young people to thrive.
“We are saddened by the dangerous journeys our youths undertake to Europe through the desert and Mediterranean Sea. Part of the solution to this issue lies in education, job creation and training for technical and entrepreneurial skill acquisition and application”.
He noted that to alleviate the economic challenges that hamper progress in the subregion, ECOWAS countries must take strong position in the global economy through technology and innovation.
The President commended the Parliament for putting up the Seminar to review the activities of the Fourth Legislature, saying that the move will justify the resource inputs made into the parliament over the last four years.
Earlier, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Moustapha Cissé-Lo had bemoaned the limited powers of the parliament, calling for a review of the power structure of Ecowas to correspond to the important role and functions played by parliament.
“Although I have previously commended the Conference of Head of States for granting new powers to Parliament, there is still much to be done to ensure that Parliament is commensurate with its important function as representative of the Peoples of the Community”.