49th Anniversary of ECOWAS Celebrated in Cabo Verde with Focus on Youth Engagement

May 24, 2024 Praia, Cabo Verde – The 49th anniversary of the ECOWAS was marked by a central activity named “Getting to Know ECOWAS” organized by the Office of the Resident Representative of the President of ECOWAS in Cabo Verde in the Secondary School Manuel Lopes, held on Santiago Island, focused on educating and inspiring  students from several municipalities across the island.

This year’s celebrations focused on the theme, “Enhancing Regional Unity, Peace and Security”.  The event featured a range of presentations designed to foster a deeper understanding of ECOWAS’s role and initiatives in regional integration. Students had the unique opportunity to gain insights into the Commission’s efforts in promoting economic cooperation and social cohesion among West African states.

Throughout the morning, students participated in interactive sessions that covered various themes such as the cultural diversity, geographical richness, and socio-economic development of the ECOWAS member states. These presentations were aimed at highlighting the importance of regional integration and the benefits it brings to the collective development of the West African region. The agenda included an awareness raising session, focusing on the presentation of the recently inaugurated ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordination Center in Zone G, with the headquarters in Praia, offering the students a close perspective on the operations of ECOWAS.

A key component of the celebration was the focus on the cultural and geographical aspects of the member states. Students explored the diverse cultural heritage of the region through multimedia presentations and discussions, which emphasized the shared values and common goals of ECOWAS countries. The students had the opportunity to actively engage in cultural activities in a talent demonstration of singing and dancing.

The activities also included quizzes and discussions, encouraging students to actively participate and engage with the material presented. This interactive approach not only made learning more enjoyable but also ensured that the students could relate the information to their everyday lives and future aspirations.

The Resident Representative of the President of ECOWAS in Cabo Verde, Dr. Samuel Lamptey, during his address, underscored the significance of involving the youth in such commemorations. He highlighted that the future of ECOWAS lies in the hands of the younger generation, and it is crucial to equip them with the knowledge and understanding of the organization’s mission and achievements. The Representative stressed the ECOWAS Youth Policy Strategic Plan of Action (SPAO), which is a 10-year plan that aims to promote youth development and empowerment in the ECOWAS region.

SPAO was adopted in 2016 and is based on the pillars of Education and Training, Employment and Entrepreneurship, Health and Wellbeing, Peace and Security, and Governance and Participation. The SPAO identifies a number of challenges facing youth in ECOWAS, including high unemployment rate, lack of access to education and training, and poor health outcomes.

The plan sets out a number of strategies to address these challenges, including investing in education and training, creating jobs and supporting entrepreneurship, improving access to health care, promoting peace and security and strengthening youth participation in governance.