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The Minister of Regional Integration, HE Júlio Herbert Lopes, receives in audience the Director General of WAI, 02 May 2018

The Minister of Regional IntegrationThe Minister for Regional Integration near the Prime Minister (MAPMIR), HE Júlio Herbert Lopes, received in audience the Director General of WAI, Prof. Djénéba Traoré, accompanied by Mr. Renato Frederico, Deputy Administrative Assistant, on May 2nd, 2018, at the Ministry of Regional Integration, located at the Government Palace.

The Minister welcomed the will of WAI Director General to establish a partnership with MAPMIR and said that since taking office a few weeks ago, he had planned to visit WAI headquarters, recalling his participation in the creation of the Institute and his active contribution to the first technical meetings.

HE Júlio Herbert Lopes indicated that Nigeria also houses a research center called National Institute For Legislative and Democratic Studies(NILDS) which carries out actions similar to those of WAI for instance in terms of capacity building and invited WAI to take contact with the NILDS Directorate.

Thanking the Minister for Regional Integration for granting a favorable response to her audience request, WAI Director General extended her warm congratulations for his appointment and wished him all the best of success in his governmental endeavors. She then presented the Institute as the first think tank in West Africa focused on regional integration and social transformations, set out the four missions assigned to it at the time of its conception by its Promoters (UNESCO; ECOWAS; UEMOA; Government of the Republic of Cabo Verde, ECOBANK Group): i) conduct innovative research; ii) organize capacity building sessions; (iii) hold scientific, social and political dialogue sessions; iv) develop strategic partnerships with institutions with similar objectives.

Prof. Traoré then gave an overview of the various scientific partnerships with universities and research centers (ZEI, Uni-CV, UNU-CRIS) that helped a) to capitalize and disseminate knowledge on regional integration, b) to create a Master's degree program in African Regional Integration (MARI), which is taught by Uni-CV since January 2017 further to an agreement signed between WAI and Uni-CV, and c) to constitute a critical mass of researchers and experts in the various fields of regional integration in Africa and in the world.

WAI Director General informed the Minister about the holding in Praia, at the end of September 2018, of a workshop of the Consortium for Comparative Studies on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (Consortium for Comparative Studies Comparative Studies in Regional Integration and Social Cohesion) and the wish of the Consortium President to meet the MAPMIR authorities.

With regard to the specific partnership with ECOWAS, Prof. Traoré cited as examples the five-day training seminar for ECOWAS practitioners and civil society actors on the theme “The Challenges of Regional Integration in West Africa and in the Word” organized by WAI in June 2013 in Lomé, Togo, with the technical and financial support of OSIWA, the study conducted by the Institute on the evaluation of the Regional Strategic Plan 2011 -2015 whose findings were used for the formulation of the ECOWAS 2016-2020 Community Strategic Framework (CSF). She also informed the Minister of her participation in the 13th Meeting of ECOWAS Strategic Planning Coordinating Committee (SPCC) to be held in Abuja, Nigeria, on 11-12 May 2018 and assured of WAI commitment to consolidate the partnership with the different Departments of ECOWAS Commission.

The Minister emphasized that WAI needed more visibility in order to raise awareness on its activities and gave assurances that the Institute could count on MAPMIR as a true partner.

HE Júlio Herbert Lopes suggested that WAI undertake to implement the following activities as part of the fulfillment of its missions:The Minister of Regional Integration 1

- Creation and publication of a review focused on the news regarding regional  integration and social transformations in West Africa;

- Promotion of knowledge on the different constitutions and political regimes of the ECOWAS Member States as well as the articles of the 1993 Revised Treaty;

- Continuation of capacity-building activities for practitioners and actors of regional integration;

- Partnership with the Government of the Republic of Cabo Verde for the organization of a Cultural Festival of the Sub-region;

- Analysis of economic issues, including those related to the creation of a single currency in the ECOWAS region and the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

Regarding the transformation of WAI into an ECOWAS Specialized Agency, the Minister indicated that the dossier fell within the competence of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and will be dealt in this specific context by including the underlying sub-issues.

The exchanges between the two parties also focused on the security crisis that has shaken many Sahel countries for several years, the G5 Sahel, the challenges of anchoring a genuine democratic culture, the identity crises, the need to train the West African youth in leadership and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Minister suggested that WAI contributes to the establishment of a Network of West African Universities including the Universities of Cabo Verde.

HE Júlio Herbert Lopes finally informed that he will invite WAI co-organize the planned Round Table on Regional Integration.

Taking the floor, WAI Director General sincerely acknowledge the Minister for his personal support to the Institute as well as the Ministry's one. She reiterated the full availability of WAI to work for the establishment of a constructive and durable partnerships with MAPMRI and its commitment to ECOWAS in accelerating the process and achieving the objectives of regional integration.

Started at 12 noon, the audience ended at 2 pm.

 

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