The Sub-Regional Office for West Africa (SRO-WA) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Government of Liberia launch the 22nd Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of senior officials and Experts (ICE) for West Africa in Robertsfield, Margibi County.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Commerce, the 22nd Meeting is being held under a regional context marked by the entry of the United Nations, African Union, and ECA and ECOWAS reforms in their decisive phases. It is also marked by the continuation in planning by various States, aimed at improving a slow-paced development despite the decade of economic growth in West African countries.
The release says the main objective of the meeting is to discuss recent developments likely to impact economic and social development in West African countries, with a view to identifying major challenges to be addressed and to proposing guidelines for accelerating sustainable development in the region through economic transformation.
In this light, participants will have to review the statutory reports prepared by the Secretariat.
The Ministry further notes that during the ongoing Meeting, delegates will review and report on implementing the SRO-WA Work Program in 2018 and prospects for 2019, including Report on the Regional Profile of West Africa and the Report on Progress in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in West Africa, respectively.
Held under the theme: “Demographic dynamics for sustainable development in West Africa: challenges and policy measures,” the 22nd West African meeting of the ICE is taking place as plenary sessions and a round table, during which reports drafted by the bureau and communications from experts are being tabled and discussed.
In an extemporaneous statement, Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah hopes that strong recommendations in terms of education, agriculture and finances will be made by the participants at this important meeting.
“I call for an advocacy for these recommendations to be made at the level of the parliaments so that they have an impact on the national polices”, says Minister Tweah.
The Acting Director of ECA in West Africa, Bakary Dosso, notes that three reasons justify choosing the theme of the meeting. “First, it is a strategic choice. Demographic Dynamics for Development is the new area of specialization of the ECA Sub regional Office for West Africa. Secondly, the West African region is at the forefront of issues related to population dynamics and development. Lastly, the current momentum. There is a worldwide agenda to identify and seize the windows of opportunity of demographic dividend in Africa”, explains Mr. Dosso.
He says besides being home to 377 million people or 30 percent of the population of Africa in 2018, the region is the most populated region of the continent. growing at a pace of 2.7 percent per annum, will double every 25 years, Ceteris Paribus, or holding everything else constant.
At the same time, the Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Liberia, Pa Lamin Beyai, notes that challenges faced by sub-region are immense, but the United Nations, “working as one in each of your countries, is ready to support you to benefit from the demographic dividend. For that to happen, the progress made in regional integration needs to be sustained in the short, medium, and long terms to ensure that youthful population is a true force for development, peace, and security.”