WAI confirms though a new Strategic Plan its Role of "Think Tank" in the Accelerating Process of Regional Integration in West Africa

HE Ing. José Brito

Chairman of WAI Board of Directors

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The vision of the West Africa Institute (WAI) is to participate actively in the Regional Integration of West Africa in close collaboration with other actors operating in the regions areas in West Africa by facilitating decision-making to meet the real needs of people.

At its inception in 2010, the five (5) Promoters of WAI, including the Government of the Republic of Cabo Verde, ECOWAS, WAEMU, UNESCO and the Ecobank Group, entrusted to it the following four core missions:

  1. To promote knowledge of regional integration through innovative research.
  2. To provide a platform for dialogue, meetings and exchanges on regional integration.
  3. To train a new generation of elites in regional integration.
  4. To negotiate and implement strategic partnerships with similar organizations.
WAI was thus charged with analyzing the «obstacles, constraints and challenges» to West African regional integration in order to offer solutions or recommendations and contribute to social transformations. After six years of existence of the Institute, the time has come to rethink its strategy with regard to the evolution of its environment.

The task has been carried out in 2015 by the providing a strategic agenda for the 2016-2020 period.

The strategic plan proposes a vision of ‘a fully integrated West Africa able to achieve its development objectives’ for WAI while its mission is to help in ‘building one West Africa’. WAI’s will help to promote a regional integration process in West Africa that is people centered and people-driven. For this, WAI wants to become the  think tank that will conduct the integration process. It will serve as public policy think tank as well as a strategic partner to the main stakeholders in West Africa to promote a robust regional integration agenda in the region. Achieving the vision and mission will require a WAI that has relevance, reputation and resources. The strategic plan is focused on building these attributes.

The plan therefore proposes that WAI concentrate its efforts around four mutually reinforcing strategic interventions: (i) Research and Analysis, (ii) Advisory Services, (iii) Dialogue and Advocacy, and (iv) Capacity Building. The strategic plan also identifies six thematic areas of focus: (i) Citizenship and Civil Society, (ii) Governance and Regional Security, (iii) Economic Transformation, (iv) Natural Resources Management, (v) Infrastructure (Transportation, Energy, and Telecommunication), (vi) Culture, Health, Education and Gender.  WAI will also develop special projects in collaboration with other stakeholders.

The strategic plan is ambitious in conformity with our ambition for our region and the successful implementation requires a fundamental change and rethink of WAI as an institution. For this purpose, WAI would like to become, to guarantee its financial sustainability, a Specialized Agency of the ECOWAS Commission. It is a matter of securing financing and facilitating the commitment of the main Promoters and partners of WAI, whom I would like to thank for their constant support.

At the dawn of 2017, I wish all of you, without forgetting the small Team of the Executive Secretariat that is so high committed for our Regional Institution, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I wish the best of happiness, health and prosperity to all those who share our vision of an integrated and developed West Africa,  whether you are working in regional integration institutions, in the private sector, in the academic sector, in civil society organizations or in governments. We are launching an appeal to get help in order to help you.


Together we will build a West Africa of the People.


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