Picture: USAID West Africa Director with Ecowas President signing the agreement
ECOWAS and the United States (US) Government have expanded their partnership to promote peace and security, improve the health status of vulnerable populations, address energy challenges, and support trade activities in the region through a U.S$221 million agreement.
To be spread over the next four years, the agreement among others, aims to mitigate electoral violence by partnering with the West African Network for Peace building (WANEP) and providing grants to local civil society organizations to implement early warning recommendations before the identified issues escalate into violence.
At the grant signing agreement ceremony which took place at the ECOWAS Commission on the 19th of November 2015, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Desiré Ouedraogo, expressed the gratitude of the Commission to the US Government and to U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for the growing partnership to bring about poverty reduction in West Africa.
“It is clear there is an extreme need to bridge the gap between alert and response. It is also crucial to enhance the capacities of member states in managing and resolving crisis at local levels in order to reinforce ECOWAS peace and security architecture” President Ouedraogo said.
The ECOWAS Commission boss commended US President Barrack Obama’s strong commitment to supporting the West African Early Warning System as well as the enhancement of ECOWAS Warning and Response Network (ECOWARN) capacities.
In his remark, the USAID West Africa Regional Mission Director, Alex Deprez said the US government is proud to have been a supportive partner to ECOWAS in conflict prevention and early warning and response since 2001.
He said the Early Warning and Response Data in West Africa (REWARD), a five-year project will see the Unites States Government provide assistance towards enhancing the ECOWAS goal of reducing the risk of violence across West Africa.
Overall, the Agreement will also enable USAID to strengthen the capacity of the ECOWAS Early Warning Directorate by reinforcing its staffing needs and improving the quality of its data analysis and response mechanisms as well as bolstering the capacity of ECOWARN by assisting in the establishment of National Early Warning and Response Centers in ECOWAS member states.
The Ceremony was attended by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, U.S. embassy deputy chief of mission, Maria Brewer, the Directors of Early Warning, Dr. Abdou Lat Gueye and Political Affairs, Dr. Remi Ajibewa as well as ECOWAS partners.
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