A Regional Media Workshop on International Trade Agreements (ITA) is currently underway at the ECOWAS Commission in Asokoro, Abuja, Nigeria.
The two-day seminar is jointly organised by the ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with The Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The event brought together media practitioners from ECOWAS Member countries.
Richard Young, Deputy Head of Mission of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the event will enable participants to examine what is meant by trade agreements and how it is relevant to West Africa, in terms of economic and industrial development. “We can all learn, exchange view and as media representatives better understand International Trade Agreements and Economic Partnership Agreement as well as better understand the messages you have as media and the view you have to communicate to us.”
Through that exchange of views, Young said we can move forward and better in doing our work. He talked about trade and what it means, the problems faced and the possible solution that are before them. “No country can become competitive based on self-sufficiency and therefore, every country in order for it to stay long term growth it needs to integrate into the world economy.”
Ludwig Kirchner, head of programme, GIZ Support Programme to ECOWAS, elaborated on the cooperation between his organisation, ECOWAS and the European Union. “GIZ is owned by Germany and with ECOWAS we work on behalf of different German ministries, mainly the ministries for economic cooperation and development and others as well as the European Union in order to support ECOWAS in building their capacities in various areas,” he said.
“Our cooperation is based on the principle of full ownership by ECOWAS, which means providing political and technical advice, assist ECOWAS Commission in implementation and help to strengthen capacities within the ECOWAS Commission. Our principle is always to see ECOWAS the driver of the processes and we only implement opportunities that plan and design in close cooperation with our partners.”
He described their areas of cooperation as three folds; they support ECOWAS in organisation development, institution reform progress, area of trade and customs and the programme component in the area of peace and security.
Laouali Chaibou, Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, ECOWAS, said as a result of the establishment of structures, West Africa has been able to negotiate a balance trade agreement with the high dimensional development.
He said the objective of the workshop is to strengthen the capacity of the media community to understand better on International Trade Agreement especially for a clear quotation to be given to Economic Partnership Development, with West Africa and EU.
“At the end of the workshop the participants could improve their knowledge on International Trade Agreement especially EPA in order to disseminate correct information that would be useful to the general public,” he concluded.
by Omar Wally, Abuja Nigeria