The second conference geared towards assembling representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who are currently residing in the United States of America, otherwise known as members of the Diaspora, is progressing.
Though the program is now a subject of confirmation by His Excellency M. Kadre Desire Ouedraogo the ECOWAS Commission President and his Commissioners in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the date, time and a comprehensive list of events and activities that will characterize the conference will soon be released to the public.
According to the Dean of the ECOWAS Ambassadors Group (EAG) Sierra Leone’s Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens, “the ECOWAS Commission in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the EAG are working collectively in the planning of what would metamorphose to the “Second ECOWAS Diaspora conference”.
It has already been agreed that the Diaspora conference will be tailored to see active participation from individual country representatives drawn from a wide scope: different states in the United States, and selection will be made through the ECOWAS member States Embassies in Washington DC.
“The diaspora has enormous potential which if properly tapped could transform West Africa to a more developed and enviable region.” Said Ambassador Stevens.
Though he did not give any figure, Ambassador Stevens said the United States population has some members of African descent, who over the years, have earned enviable positions in every segment and sector of the American Society.
He described the diaspora as among others, an economic force which “remittances alone, significantly contributes to financial flows in our ECOWAS region.”
According to him, the expected outcomes of the program include “the establishment of a platform to mainstream Diaspora and United States capacities into ECOWAS development efforts: promote or advocate for ECOWAS in the United States and the rest of the World: attract Diaspora and American investments (long-term/low cost capital) to the ECOWAS region and upscale ECOWAS market (including AGOA) to the US, technology transfer etc.
Ambassador Bockari Stevens said the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma takes the issue of Diaspora very seriously: and the government does not only have a Diaspora Affairs office at State House, but has also described the Diaspora as the fifth region.
On Saturday June 14, 2014, a meeting at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 3519 International Court NW Washington DC chaired by Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens not only saw the briefing of ECOWAS Ambassadors on strides made, and status of the conference, but also witnessed the handing over of a report prepared by the experts (a Representative of Embassies of ECOWAS Countries Mr. Christopher J. Nippy of Liberia Embassy & ECOWAS Commissioner Kalilou Traore for Industry and Private sector promotion – ECOWAS Commission in the Federal Republic of Nigeria) to Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens and colleagues for consideration.
The host, Ambassador (Professor) Ade Adefuye of the Federal Republic of Nigeria accredited to the United States of America welcomed his colleagues and reasserted that he will continue to provide support to the efforts of the ECOWAS Ambassador’s Group and its region.
It could be recalled that the first ECOWAS and African Diaspora Conference (ADC) was held in collaboration with the African Business Chambers of Commerce (ABCC) USA in Detroit Michigan, USA from 29-30th March 2011.