Since the African Union and the various Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are increasingly influencing the every-day-life of their citizens in different policy areas, the knowledge about the process of regional integration is becoming more and more important. The process of regional integration in West Africa requires highly skilled and trained experts in order to consolidate and improve integration processes. Individuals working in the field need to have a well-rounded understanding of the multi-dimensional complexities of integration, so that they can successfully deal with challenges and use the opportunities provided by integration.
Against this background, the University of Cabo Verde (Uni-CV) has implemented in partnership with the West Africa Institute (WAI) and the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) of the University of Bonn, a Master Program in African Regional Integration (MARI) that has been formally launched on January 23rd, 2017.
The opening ceremony took place at the Auditorium of Uni-CV. The event was chaired by the Rector of Uni-CV, Prof. Dr. Judite Nascimento in presence of a large number of participants from the Cabo Verdean public and private institutions, WAI Chairman of the Board of Directors, HE Ing. José Brito, Academics and the students of the MARI Program.
In her opening speech, Prof. Dr. Judite Nascimento underlined the relevance of the program for Cabo Verde and its role in the reinforcement of the knowledge on regional integration for social and economic development.«This is», Prof. Dr. Nascimento said, «a project different from the traditional Masters with an international character, not only with foreign university lecturers, but also foreign students, so that this course aims to train a group of elites responsible for managing regional and continental projects, programs and institutions ».
Prof. Dr. Djénéba Traoré explained in her statement that the MARI Program has been conceived in the framework of the WAI-ZEI project entitled: «Sustainable Regional Integration in West Africa and Europe» as a lever aiming at strengthening institutional capacities. She stressed the quality requirement and the expectations linked to the Program.
In his introducing remarks, Prof. Dr. Odair Varela, the Academic Director of the Master Program highlighted the relevance of the MARI Program for Cabo Verde and Africa in the current context of globalization gave an overview of the different training modules of the MARI Program that is expecting candidates from:
Institutions related with African regional issues (UA; ECOWAS; UEMOA; COMESA; SADC; EAC; AMU; Mano River Union; African regional or continental banks; civil society organizations (CSO) including NGO's and Associations concerned by regional integration issues);
- Foreign Affairs Ministries in ECOWAS Member States;
- Worldwide academic institutions;
- National administrations of Public sector;
- Private sector...
WAI and Uni-CV are working on partnerships with African Regional Institutions to ensure that during the studies, the students will keep contact to the regional Institutions. Best students who are not yet employees will have additional chance for a job career in a Regional Organization in their country or in another African country after their graduation.
Africa needs strong institutions. Therefore the Master Program aims at reinforcing the capacity of the Institution working on Regional Integration issues. Through the practical focus of the modules, graduates will have highly developed skills such as research capacity, critical analysis, strategic planning, negotiation capacity, preparation of reports, policy implementation, scientific writing and paper presentations.
The speeches were followed by the conference of Prof. Dr Kojo Opoku Aidoo from the University of Ghana on: «Political Economy of Regional Integration» with the moderation of Prof. Saidu Bangura, Lecturer at Uni-CV and also Faculty staff member of MARI. The theme attempted to address the ways in which domestic economy and policies advance or obstruct regional integration in Africa in general and the West African sub-region in particular. Further to his presentation, Prof. Aidoo answered to the various questions of the audience.
You can watch the TV report of the opening ceremony of the MARI Program here
You can also consult Uni-CV website on the event.
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