Michael Olugbode in Abuja
The West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) called on the private sector to invest in peace and security in the region.
ECOWAS Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs Dr Sintiki Ugbe called for the end of the ECOWAS-EU PSS project meeting over the weekend.
She said businesses would thrive only where there is peace and security, adding that the problem of peace and security goes beyond law and enforcement.
She therefore called on the private sector to join with regional and national governments in addressing the challenges to peace and security in the region.
Ugbe recalled how the private sector rallied to government during the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and said the same could be done to ensure peace and security in the sub-region.
She said: “We should take the example of COVID-19 and appeal to the private sector and say if there is no peace and security, whether at the national or regional level, it will affect your business and then why don’t you also work with us, whether it’s up to ECOWAS or the national government, or even civil society to make the investment to ensure security and peace in our region.
“I think there are many areas that we are looking at to ensure peace and security in our region. The private sector is free to see where it can make additional investments to ensure communities are stabilized.
“For example, can you provide resources to build resilience and recovery where there are areas that have been affected by climate change and where people’s livelihoods have been distorted? How to intervene to ensure the recovery of this community so that it is not drawn into the conflict? It is a significant investment.
“We should not consider investing in ensuring security and stability, not just in the area of law and law enforcement.
“What we are saying is that we should expand investments in law and security to address other issues of great importance to the citizens of the community which can bring stability to our region.”
She added: “The private sector has an important role to play in peace and security in our region. It is not something that we should leave to the government, it is not something that we should leave to ECOWAS alone, but you know it is something that they can play an important role in the region. . “
The ECOWAS flagship peace and security project, supported by the European Union and other development partners, ended with stakeholders calling for the consolidation and sustainability of the remarkable achievements of the project and the support of successor programs.
The European Union’s support of € 29 million for the ECOWAS Regional Peace, Security and Stability Mandate Program (ECOWAS-EU PSS Project), which was co-financed by the EU under the of its regional indicative program (RIP 10th EDF) and ECOWAS to the tune of 27 million euros and 2.33 million euros, respectively, have recorded remarkable achievements both at the level of the ECOWAS Commission and at the level of Member States.
“In addition to laying a solid foundation for its successor, the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations Program (EPSAO), the PSS project also created synergy with the peace and security architecture. of the African Union, Member States and has also established links with other regional economic communities (RECs) ”, said Dr Sintiki Ugbe, Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs of ECOWAS, during the workshop end of project in Abuja this weekend.
Noting that the PSS project had crossed several directions, including political affairs; social affairs and gender; monitoring and evaluation, finance and human resources, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, among others, she thanked the EU, UNDP, civil society organizations Lite Africa, in particular the West African Network for the Consolidation of Peace. peace (WANEP), and the media for supporting the successful implementation of the PSS project.