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The Sub-Regional Office for West Africa (SRO-WA) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Liberian Government, on Wednesday, May 8, 2019  launched  the 22nd Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of senior officials and Experts (ICE) for West Africa in Robertsfield, Margibi County.

The 22nd Meeting was  held under a regional context marked by the entry of the United Nations, African Union, ECA and ECOWAS reforms in their decisive phases. It is also marked by the continuation in planning, by States, aimed at better improving a slow-paced development despite the decade of economic growth in the West African countries.

The main objective of the  meeting was to discuss recent developments likely to impact economic and social development in West African countries, with a view to identifying major challenges to be addressed and to proposing guidelines for accelerating sustainable development in West Africa through the transformation of the economies of the Sub-Region. In this light, participants will have to review the statutory reports prepared by the Secretariat.


During the ongoing  Meeting, delegates will review, in turns, the Report on Implementing the SRO-WA Work Program in 2018 and prospects for 2019, the Report on the Regional Profile of West Africa and the Report on Progress in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in West Africa.


Held under the theme: “Demographic dynamics for sustainable development in West Africa: challenges and policy measures,” this 22nd West African meeting of the ICE is taking place as plenary sessions and a round table, during which reports drafted by the Bureau and communications from experts are being tabled and discussed.


In an extemporaneous statement,  Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah  Jr, said  expressed the  hope that strong recommendations in terms of education, agriculture and finances will be made by the participants at this important meeting. “I call for an advocacy for these recommendations to be made at the level of the parliaments so that they have an impact on the national polices”. Minister Tweah added.


For his part, the  Acting  Director of ECA in West Africa, Bakary Dosso, noted that  three reasons justify choosing the theme of the  meeting. “First, it is a strategic choice. Demographic Dynamics for Development is the new area of specialization of the ECA Sub regional Office for West Africa. Secondly, the West African region is at the forefront of issues related to population dynamics and development. Lastly, the current momentum. There is a worldwide agenda to identify and seize the windows of opportunity of demographic dividend in Africa”, explained Mr. Dosso. “The region is home to 377 million people or 30 percent of the population of Africa in 2018. It is the most populated region of the continent growing at a pace of 2.7 percent per annum. It will double every 25 years, Ceteris Paribus”, said ECA’s Dosso.


At the same time the  Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Liberia, Pa Lamin Beyai, said  the  challenges we face as a sub-region are immense, but the United Nations, working as one in each of your countries, is ready to support you to benefit from the demographic dividend. “For that to happen, the progress made in regional integration needs to be sustained in the short, medium, and long terms to ensure that youthful population is a true force for development, peace, and security”. Mr. Bayai noted. Prior to the Committee’s meeting, an Ad-hoc Experts Group Meeting was held in Robertsfield on May 06 and 07, 2019, on the theme “National capacities and mechanisms in evaluating progress in the implementation of agendas 2030 and 2063: assessment, challenges and prospects in West Africa”.


Delegates from 15 West African States, as well as senior representatives and experts from the ECOWAS, UEMOA, the Mano River Union (UFM), and other intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) of the Sub-Region attended the 22nd Meeting of the ICE for West Africa. In addition to the ECA, other United Nations agencies will contribute towards the success of this meeting, together with other development partners and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Development and research institutions that handle population issues in Africa will also contribute to the discussions. The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is one of the five Regional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). The objective of its   Office in West Africa is to support the development efforts made by the fifteen countries of the Sub-Region (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo) through the formulation and implementation of policies and programs that can contribute to their economic and social transformation.


Jacob N.B. Parley
Public Affairs Director