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White House announces US’ plans to boost civil society groups in West Africa

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US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama

The United States is planning to launch a programme that will build the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the West African region, the White House announced June 27, 2013.

The US support is to make the CSOs increase their advocacy in key areas such as natural resources and human rights as well as economic development.

“… to responsibly advocate on land tenure issues, including land rights, working closely with governments and the private sector to improve responsible natural resource utilization and the protection and advancement of human rights and economic development,” said the White House in a factsheet of US’ support to the CSOs.

The statement comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s visit to some African countries.

The US believes that civil society and an independent media play a critical role in any vibrant democracy thus improve political processes, transparency, and government performance.

According to the White House, the US through the US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – provided more than $292 million in 2012 in support for these efforts.

The US has established two key programmes in West Africa – the Africa Regional Anti-Corruption Training Programme (ARATP) and the West Africa Regional Training Center (RTC).

The ARATP is a two-year initiative to support the establishment of stable judicial and law enforcement institutions that combat organized crime and drug cartels and support rule of law.

The RTC brings together justice sector and security officials from across the region, creating relationships and boosting knowledge and skills on topics ranging from investigative analysis to combating corruption.

By Ekow Quandzie

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