Regional forum on the role of parliment in achieving MDGs underway
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
A five day regional forum on the role of Parliment in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) opened yesterday at the Paradise Suites Hotel, in Kololi.
The forum is being organised by The West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) with fundings from the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF).
WAIFEM was established in 1996 by central banks of the five West African English speaking nations namely, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, principally to build sustainable capacity for effective macro-economic and financial management in countries of member banks.
The objectives of this forum is to enhance the knowledge and skills of legislators to access, evaluate and appraise economic and financial programmes, projects an budget emanating from the executive arm of government.
In his welcoming address, Momodou Foon, a member of Waifem on behalf of the Dr Osic C Itsede, Director General (Waifem) expressed gratitude to The Gambian leader Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh for permitting them to organise such a forum.
According to him, initially WAIFEM concentrated on building capacity of officials of central banks, ministers of finance, debt management offices and other public and private agencies involved in macro-economic policy management noting that the audience targets now includes national parliament and the mass media.
"Our outreach has extended beyond West African to Angola, Sudan and far away in Latin America. To ensure that our programmes have a competitive edge, we have established a collaborative technical partnership with world class institutions involved in capacity building for economic and financial management," he said.
Mr Foon noted that with the synergy leveraged from these partners, WAIFEM is now acknowledge as a centre of excellence in capacity building for economic management in Anglophone West Africa.
According to him, over 7000 officials from the pubic and the private sector of the economic have benefited from the Institutes programmes adding this forum will undoubtedly accelerate the integration process in the sub-region.
Momodou Bamba Saho, Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, commended WAIFEM for addressing over the years, a key constraining factor in Africa's development which is inadequately of human and institutional capacity for economic and financial management.
"At the UN Millennium Summit on September 8,2000, the Heads of State and government of member countries adopted the millennium declaration from where the MDGs were enuciated. The MDGs and associated targets by 2015 provides a comprehensive development agenda for countries to meet the development aspirations of their peoples," he said.
Governor Saho noted that Africa is endowed with diverse resources but yet, the continent is one of the poorest regions of the world.
According to him, a large proportions of this population has no access to safe drinking water, health services and a basic infrastructures noting that in addition, the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, civil wars, unfavourable terms of trade and persisted slow growth have inhibited Africa's economic development.
"Poverty has persisted despite a series of government interventions to address the issue, poor resources utilization and public sector finance management have worsened the poverty situations in our countries," he added.
According to him, the achievement of MDGs requires us all, to intensify the individual and collective efforts of government, legislatures, civil society, the international community and ordinary people. He then urged the participants to take full advantage of this opportunity to share experience and further improved their knowledge on the issue by interacting with the expert team of resources persons.
Dr Adamu, senior Programme Officer, WAIFEM, delivered the vote of thanks while Abdoulie Bojang, deputy speaker of The National Assembly chaired the ceremony on behalf of the Speaker of the National Assembly.
Author: by Sheriff Janko