Abuja - Director of Strategic Planning at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Essien Abel Essien, has encouraged member states to integrate regional progammes and aspirations in their national development plans to facilitate economic development and integration.
Essien stated this at the opening of ongoing National Planning Experts meeting in Lagos.
“Where the political will is strong it should be easier for a country to draw up its national development plans, strategies and programmes with regional considerations,” told delegates.
Essien said due to internal problems and competing demands on their limited resources, many countries tend to put much more emphasis on national than on regional projects.
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He added that the ideal situation was for countries to ensure efficient coordination between the objectives and instruments of regional integration and national policy making.
“Experience in the past has shown that governments and inter-governmental organizations have generally dominated and monopolized the dialogue on integration. There is emerging recognition of the need to involve civil society in the process because an integration process that involves civil society stands a much better chance of success.”
Essien told the experts that the region was at a crucial stage of development and the actualization of the ECOWAS Vision 2020.
“With collective action, the region can steer the course of integration, using the instrumentality of the Community Strategic Framework (CSF) towards the actualization of the dreams of our founding fathers.”
- CAJ News