The 22nd Session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) of West Africa kicks off at the Farmington Hotel in Harbel, Margibi County, Liberia.
The session is being held under the theme, “National Capacities and Mechanisms in Evaluating Progress in the Implementation of Agendas 2030 and 2063: Assessment of Challenges and Prospects in West Africa.”
Addressing cross section of participants at the formal opening on May 6, 2019, the Director for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa or (ECA) Bakary Dosso, told participants that the ICE is a body established by the United Nations General Assembly.
He says the two-day session will discuss recent developments likely to impact economic and social development in West Africa, with a view to identifying major challenges to be addressed and to propose guidelines for accelerating sustainable development in the region through the transformation of the economies of West Africa.
Mr. Dosso continues that the SDGs represent an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate extreme poverty and put the world on the path to sustainable development.
He thanks the Government of Liberia for hosting the meeting of experts from West Africa to discuss what he terms a topic of great interest to the sub-region.
Giving a rough estimate of West Africa, he indicates that it shows out of an estimated population of 377 million in 2018, just over 200 million or 53.5 percent of the people lives below the national poverty line, something he notes demonstrates the magnitude of the challenges of everyone.
Accordingly, he adds that countries in the sub-region need to make major reforms in their macroeconomic and financial frameworks; invest in human capital, tackle infrastructure deficits, improve business climates to meet challenges and positively and sustainably reverse trends.
Mr. Dosso explains success lies in the ability of the national leadership to execute on time, monitor and evaluate implementation of the different agendas to which the regional body has committed for the transformation of member countries and the continent at large.
He points out that institutional capacity for evaluation and monitoring of development agendas has been identified as one of the missing links in development processes in West Africa.
The ICE meets annually to discuss economic and social performance, based on working documents prepared by the Sub-regional Office for West Africa of the Economic Commission for Africa.
For her part, Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Finance for Budget and Planning Ms. Tanneh Brunson asserts that Liberia, as a member state of ECOWAS, remains deeply committed to continuing her partnership with sub-regional bodies.
She lauds the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for its continuous support to Liberia in making sure that the country simultaneously achieves the United Nations 2030 Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
She says the Government of Liberia has adopted the global and continental frameworks of the U.N. 2030 Agenda and the A.U. 2063 Agenda, among others.
According to her, the A.U. 2063 Agenda is developed as a vision for “The Africa We Want” by Heads of State in May 2013, as a long-term development framework that aims to materialize Africa’s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the world.
The SDGs, she explains, speaks to socioeconomic development issue and reflects stronger environmental concerns, adding that government is committed to development despite current challenges.
The Sub-regional Office for West Africa, based in Niamey, covers the 15 member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Experts from these member States form the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts of West Africa.
The ECA, established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is one of five United Nations regional commissions mandated to promote the economic and social development of Africa. Its five sub-regional offices translate its normative and analytical work into operational activities in the sub-region. By Lewis S. Teh–Editing by Jonathan Browne