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WAI takes part in the 2nd Africa and ECOWAS Week, ENG - Uni-CV, Praia, Cabo Verde, 24-29 May 2019

IMG 2230 ENG The School of Business and Governance (Escola de Negócios e Governação (ENG))  of the University of Cabo Verde (Uni-CV) organized from 24 to 29 May 2019 the 2nd Africa and ECOWAS Week.

The agenda of the event was rich in dialogue sessions as well as in cultural and artistic activities: discussion panels, fashion shows, exhibitions of handmade jewelries, presentation of traditional dances and poetry from the Member States.

Under the theme: “Current Challenges of the Political, Economic and Cultural Integration in West Africa", the 2nd Africa and ECOWAS Week recorded the effective presence of: HE Mr. Jorge Carlos Fonseca, President of the Republic of Cabo Verde; the President of the Parliamentary Group for West Africa, Hon. Deputy Hélio Sanches; the Deputy of the Pan-African Parliament, Hon. Felisberto Viera; the Coordinator of the United Nations System in Cabo Verde, Mrs. Ana Patrícia Graça; the Rector of Uni-CV, Prof. Dr. Judite Nascimento; the President of ENG, Prof. João Brito; ECOWAS Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture, Prof. Leopoldo Amado; ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Resources of ECOWAS, Prof. Jeremias Dias Furtado; the National Director of Political, Economic and Cultural Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Communities of Cabo Verde (MNEC), Mr. Júlio Morais; Representatives of ECREEE, Mr. Alcides de Oliveira and Hyacinth Elayo; Representatives of the Scientific Commission of Uni-CV; Mr. José Agnelo Sanches, Economist and Consultant; Uni-CV Students Association (ACAD), West African Community Migrant Representatives and many other public and private officials.

IMG 2257 ENGThe conference held by the Commissioner for Human Resources of ECOWAS, Prof. Jeremias Dias Furtado was entitled "Institutional and Organizational Reforms of ECOWAS: Regulations, Policies and Procedures" 

The communication from ECOWAS Education, Science and Culture Commissioner, Prof. Leopoldo Amado focused on the theme: "Integration Process in Education, Science and Culture in ECOWAS". 

The intervention of the Director General of the West Africa Institute (WAI) Prof. Djénéba Traoré addressed the issue of "The Process of Integration at Higher Education Level in the ECOWAS Zone: Achievements and Challenges". The topic was developed according to the following presentation plan: 

Introduction: Historical Background: Establishment of OAU, Addis Ababa, May 25, 1963 and Establishment of ECOWAS, Lagos, Nigeria, May 28, 1975.

I. Concepts Integration & Higher Education

I.1 What does the concept of integration mean?

I.2 Higher Education - Definition

II. Integration Process of Higher Education at ECOWAS Level: Achievements and Challenges - What are the Institutions and Programs Promoting Regional Integration at the Higher Education Level in the ECOWAS Area and Beyond?

II.1 ECOWAS Academic Mobility Program

II.2 ECOWAS Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (ECOPOST)

II.3 The Master's Program in African Regional Integration (MARI) - ENG-Uni-CV

II.4 The African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education - (CAMES)

II.5 The Addis Ababa Convention

II.6 The Association of African Universities (AAU)

II.7. UEMOA and REESAO

II.8 WAI - CEDIR Scientific Collaboration 

        Conclusion

IMG 2267 copyWAI Director General shared the panel with Ms. Joelma Gomes who spoke on "The Aesthetic Dimensions of Regional Integration". The session was moderated by Prof. Dr. Odair Barros-Varela, Academic Director of the Master's Program in African Regional Integration (MARI).

The conference of Prof. Traoré essentially established the following observations: 

- The birth of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) of which ECOWAS was the very first one to be set up. It occured on May 28, 1975 in Lagos at the initiative of Nigeria President General Yacubu Gowon, further to the proposition formulated 12 years ago by Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere regarding the future of Africa at the Summit of 32 Heads of independent State and Government, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 25, 1963, a major event marking the creation of the Organization of the African Union (OAU). 

- Integration has two essential dimensions: one individual, the other communitarian. 

- The integration process is complex, expensive and time consuming. It calls for harmonization of policies as well as adherence to common values ​​and standards for individual and collective adoption.  

- The education system as a whole and especially higher education and scientific research were from the very beginning a concern of the OAU with the creation of the Association of African Universities (AAU) in Rabat, Morocco, in 1967 and the African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education (CAMES) in 1968 in Niamey, Niger. Many other initiatives will follow, including in 1981 the Arusha Convention on the Recognition of Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and other titles of Higher Education in the African States. 

- Higher Education in West Africa must take into account the realities of the labor market and theIMG 2268 2 challenges of globalization. 

- African universities must play a leading role in social, economic, cultural and scientific development at the local, national, regional, continental and international levels. 

However, universities, mainly those located in the French-speaking West African States, are confronted with many conjunctural and structural difficulties.  They are also facing challenges in terms of implementation of quality assurance bodies and good governance. These are constrainsts that are hindering their smooth operation in a wide measure. 

- It is therefore important to improve university governance; to rapidly implement the License-Master-Doctorate (LMD) system through an efficient integration of information and communication technologies (ICTs); to limit massification and its negative consequences on the quality of academic achievement; to increase the number of technical and vocational colleges to train more senior technicians and engineers. 

- It is imperative in order to ensure the influence of African universities, to strengthen scientific research on the issues, challenges and prospects of Regional Integration in Africa and in the world. 

- In addition, the introduction at the primary, secondary and higher levels, the teaching of Regional Integration in the curriculum is an effective way to consolidate and sustain the process. 

- Information dissemination related to Programs and Institutions promoting regional integration at the level of Higher Education in West Africa and beyond allows lecturers and students to apply for calls for applications likely to strengthen their capacities and / or to offer them employment opportunities. 

- Promoting academic mobility and scientific disciplines by implementing the ECOWAS Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (ECOPOST) opens the door to industrial development, improved production tools, increased productivity and the challenges of competitiveness of globalization. 

- In the process, however, it is necessary to take the teaching of Social Sciences into account because of their importance in applying ethical and deontological standards in all sectors, especially at the level of scientific innovations. For instance, Philosophy and Sociology are  recognized as key contributors to the  development of critical thinking.

Finally, it is urgent to establish statistics for all sectors of working life in order to identify the needs in terms of specialties and job creation.

The moderators and the Organizing Committee of the 2nd Africa Week and ECOWAS were congratulated by all the speakers and the public for the efficiency of their respective performance. 

On May 28, 2019, on the aftermaths of the 2nd Africa and ECOWAS Week, Commissioner Jeremias Furtado met Prof. Djénéba Traoré accompanied by Mr. Renato Frederico and Prof. Odair Barros-Varela, the Academic Director of the Master Program in African Regional Integration (MIRA) with the aim of addressing some issues related to the transformation of WAI into a sustainable academic structure under the umbrella of ECOWAS. 

IMG 2229 ENGAt the end of fruitful talks, the three parties pledged to continue the dialogue and collaboration in this direction. 

Overall, the 2nd Africa and ECOWAS Week has, on the one hand, highlighted the challenges to be addressed and the actions to be undertaken at the continental and regional levels in order to achieve the objectives of the economic and political integration taking into account the social transformations, the will and the well-being of the Peoples. On the other hand, it has made it possible to give more visibility to the nature of the challenges to be met at the level of Higher Education to enable it to contribute to the sustainable development of the continent.

You can consult here the PowerPoint presentation of the Director General of WAI on "The Process of Integration at Higher Education Level in the ECOWAS Zone: Achievements and Challenges". 

You can watch the RTC report on the official opening of the 2nd Week of Africa and ECOWAS. 

You have access here to the RTC report on "The Conference on Current Challenges of Political, Economic and Cultural Integration in West Africa" chaired by the President of the Republic of Cabo Verde.

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