ECOWAS at risk of being left behind in digital revolution

Ambassador Baba Gana Wakil, the Resident Representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), says the sub-region faces a significant digital deficit.

He said the sub-region faced a major challenge of a huge gap in digital transformation, rendering Ecowas countries incapable of competing globally.

The ECOWAS rep said this at the Inter-Schools Debate to mark the 49th anniversary of ECOWAS.

Six second-cycle institutions participated in a debate for honour’s with Accra Girls’ Senior High School emerging as victors.

Other schools included Achimota School, Lashibi Community Day Senior High School, Christian Methodist Senior High School, and Nungua Senior High School.

The theme for this year’s edition was, ‘enhancing regional unity, peace, and security.’

The ECOWAS was established on May 28, 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, with its stated mission to promote economic integration across the region.

Ambassador Gana Wakil urged the students to take an interest in forming ECOWA
S digital clubs to build in their competences and knowledge about the opportunities and limitations that the digital era presents.

‘You students are already digital natives, and this is an era of artificial intelligence and other technological innovations. We do not want a situation where the youth in the region are left behind. Please take an interest in forming ECOWAS clubs, particularly ECOWAS digital clubs,’ he said.

He said the digital transformation was not limited to economic growth but relevant in all other fields, including the peace and security framework of the region.

The schools debated topical issues, notably the exit of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali from the sub-regional block and the implementation of the ECOWAS youth policy.

Mr. Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the ECOWAS was a beacon of hope and a pacesetter for sub-regional cooperation and integration globally.

He said over the years, the regional institutions within the sub-regional block had achie
ved significant strides, including facilitating trade and commerce through trade liberalisation schemes and breaking trade barriers with neighbours.

Despite these strides, the minister said challenges remained within the region, as there was a huge economic disparity among member states.

The minister said the organisation of the debate competition reinforced the ministry’s strategy to focus on the youth in creating awareness about the institutional and administiave duties of ECOWAS.

Source: Ghana News Agency