The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 16th September 2013. Both organisations underlined their commitment to the democratisation of regional policies in West Africa and vowed to join forces in strengthening the role and mandate of the Community Parliament.
Speaking at the ceremony in Abuja the Speaker of the Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said the thrusts of the MOU were to reinforce the ECOWAS commitment to regional integration and enhance and strengthen the Parliament’s contribution to social justice, development, integration, and democratic and comprehensive security policy. Senator Ekweremadu pledged the Parliament’s commitment to utilising this opportunity judiciously. He said: “This is coming at a very important time in the history of the ECOWAS Parliament and we would continue to be responsible in our work; we want to serve the community very effectively and provide leadership and support that will enable the integration effort in the sub-region to thrive.”
Also speaking, the Coordinator for Regional Programmes in West Africa, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Mr. Felix Henkel described the enhancement of the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament as one of the most important regional issues at the moment. He said the support to the parliament was informed by the fact that the ECOWAS Vision 2020 seeking to transform the Community from an ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of people could only come true with a proper representation of those people.
Meanwhile, under the MOU, the FES is to strengthen the campaign for an enhanced mandate and capacities of the Community Parliament, facilitate dialogue between the ECOWAS Parliament and relevant civil society organisations and networks as well as facilitate expert inputs to the work of the parliamentary committees.
The ceremony was witnessed by the Minister Counsellor, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Nigeria, Mr Klemens Moemkes; Speaker of East African Legislative Assembly, Hon. Margaret Nantongo Zziwa; and Speaker of Pan African Parliament, Hon. Bethel Amadi.