Representatives of the four countries constituting the Co-Prosperity Alliance Zone (COPAZ) have converged in Accra for a two-day seminar aimed at deliberating on measures that would ensure peace and security among them.
COPAZ, comprising Ghana, Nigeria, Benin and Togo, was established in 2007 in Benin to enhance trade ties among member countries.
The meeting, which attracted experts in security and economic issues from the member countries, would also devise means by which they could cooperate economically.
Dr. Prince Fatai Adeyemi, Executive Secretary of COPAZ, who addressed the participants on Thursday, appealed to governments in member countries to work to make the zone the safest in the sub-region devoid of conflicts.
He noted that peace, security and trade were vital to the socio-economic development of every country hence the need to uphold them.
“We need to strengthen the economic ties between us (member countries), work for peace and security so that we can attract investors for the good of our countries.”
Dr Adeyemi appealed to the private sector in COPAZ member countries to be involved in development issues and not leave the work to governments.
He urged other West African countries that shared in the values of COPAZ to join the Alliance for the development of the sub-region and the continent as a whole.
Dr Adeyemi said conclusions of the two-day meeting would be presented to governments of member countries for study and possible implementation.
Mr Lawrence Satuh, Acting Chief Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, called on member countries to strive for peace since it formed the bedrock of economic development.
He bemoaned instances whereby the sub-region was plagued by conflicts thereby affecting the development of the region and the continent as a whole.
Mr Satuh said lessons learned from Ghana’s long experience in peacekeeping had shown that humanitarian relief did not adequately address the problems associated with wars.
“This is because, the root causes of the wars and conflicts are not tackled,” he said.
He, therefore, called for the inclusion of political parties, the media and civil society to participate openly in issues bordering on peace and national security in member countries.