The main goal of ECOWAS is to promote economic cooperation among member states in order to raise living standards and promote economic development. ECOWAS has also worked to address some security issues by developing a peacekeeping force for conflicts in the region.
Thus Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Telecommunications and Information Technology are meeting in Ghana to brainstorm the role of telecommunication in achieving regional development.
The meeting which is underway in Winneba Ghana kicked off on 27th this month and will climax on the 31st of July under the theme “The role of telecommunications and information technology (TIT) in achieving regional development.”
Delegates at the Meeting are discussing several issues ranging from the influence of TIT on elections in member states, regional roaming issues: regional cyber-privacy and security, the role of TIT in enhancing human rights and the impact of TIT on the operations of judicial systems in member states, amongst others.
The meeting will explore the application of the existing and on the horizon TIT that can facilitates the development in terms finding lasting solutions to Roaming Issues, Peace and Security and Fundamental Human Rights for the betterment of ECOWAS member states which includes, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
In a dispatch from ECOWAS, Telecommunication and Information Technology (TIT) sector plays an important role, notably by contributing to rapid technological progress and productivity growth. Organizations use Telecommunications and Information Technologies (TIT) to organize transnational networks in response to international competition and the increasing need for strategic interaction.
Telecommunications and Information Technologies are transforming societies and fueling the growth of the global economy. The concept of Telecommunications and Information Technologies (thereafter TITs) refers to electronic means of access, process, store and present communication and information using computers, internet, telephone, cell-phones, television, radio and slide projector.
In that regard, TIT integration connotes both means and tool to relay communication data and information amongst and between users through the electronic hardwires and software programs. In this digital era, TIT development already has impacted hugely in ECOWAS and the world at large.
The ECOWAS dispatch also states that because, digital infrastructure has become a defining feature for need of technological competencies to improvise business as usual approaches and ensure quality development. Evidently, the explosion and advancement of TIT has been significantly impacting development, peace and security as main vehicle of human capital development in ECOWAS Region.
What the meeting intends to achieve
The meeting recognizes the potentially valuable role of TIT in the development of the ECOWAS Region particularly in areas of peace and security and fundamental human right.
It will leverage the reputation and convening powers of the Parliamentarians in public policy for the betterment of ECOWAS. At the end of the Joint Committee meeting, Members of the Joint Committee are expected to:
Be familiarize with the situation at hand on all the concerns captured on the discussion topics and measures or solutions taken or on the way with a view to ensuring that all issues are resolved;
Identify relevant intervention mechanism allowing Parliament to make an efficient contribution in ensuring that recommendations are made to this effect to Parliament at its next session;
Members of Parliament are more instilled with the progress and challenges thorough interactions with experts and stakeholders in all the relevant grey areas in all the identified discussion topics.
Trade in the Community is evolutionary. Time there was when old trading links were still being relied on to sustain business exchanges in the area. What is being awakened now however is trade with development dimension.
ECOWAS, since its inception has had a trade policy designed to increase intra-regional commerce, raise trade volume and generally galvanize the economic activities within the region in such a way as to positively impact on the economic wellbeing of ECOWAS citizens.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is among the major African Regional Economic Communities that has been shaping the evolution of regional integration in Western Africa. From better crisis prevention and management, financial and macroeconomic integration, to free movement of people, the list of achievements by ECOWAS is long since its formation in 1975.
Today, the establishment of a functioning common market is among ECOWAS’ top priorities. The ECOWAS Treaty states that the common market should be ensured through “liberalization of trade among Member States by removing non-tariff barriers to establish a free trade area at the community level and the removal, among Member States, of obstacles to the free movement of goods”.
Although tariffs have been widely reduced, effective market access and integration also requires addressing non-tariff measures (NTMs). NTMs are policy measures other than tariffs that can potentially hinder trade. They refer to regulations whose primary objective is to protect health and the environment eg; Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) but which directly or indirectly distort trade.