Journalists educated on regional integration
Journalists in the Upper West Region have been educated on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) integration processes to empower them to promote issues related to sub-regional integration.
The capacity building workshop, which took place on Thursday at Wa, was on the theme: “The Role of the Media in West Africa Regional Integration.”
It was organised by Media Response with funding from the European Union (EU).
Participants treated topics such as the Background to ECOWAS, Challenges and Prospects of ECOWAS and the role of the media in Regional Integration.
Mr Sam Dodoo, Executive Director, Media Response said the integration process was faced with challenges such as Lack of Information and the Lack of Appropriate Participation Mechanisms.
He noted that the benefits of regional integration in West Africa were not sufficiently visible to most of the population.
He, therefore, urged the journalists to abreast themselves with the new ECOWAS vision, which seeks to move ECOWAS from an “ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of People”.
Mr Dodoo said understanding the new ECOWAS vision would enable them to educate the people on the benefits of Regional Integration.
Alhaji Issahaku Salia, Upper West Regional Minister, said government would continue to strengthen state institutions to help actualize the goals of ECOWAS.
He said one of the main aims of establishing ECOWAS in 1975 was to integrate West African countries economically but stated that the integration process had since been left mainly in the hands of heads of member states.
He said the Conference of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS had not done much to involve the mass of the population of member states with the consequence being the slow pace of economic integration that the sub-region had experienced over the years.
Alhaji Salia said the rational for the involvement of the media in educating the West African population on integration was to create a well sensitised West African citizenry aware of its benefits.
He said the Upper West Region shares borders with Burkina Faso and had shared many things in common long before the creation of international borders.
Therefore, the involvement of the media in sensitizing the people should seek to deepen that long standing relationship.
He said the promotion of Regional Integration would lessen travel time across borders for business, provide a vast market that would promote intra-trade and lead to exchange of development ideas among others.