Monrovia, Thursday, May 20, 2021: Liberian Foreign Minister H.E. Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., has drawn ECOWAS’ attention to the low quota and under representation of Liberia in all the institutions of the organization, stating that this low representation of Liberia in the sub-region’s most influential body is not only a reflection of shadow involvement, but a sign of relegation of Liberia’s historic role, considering the formation and sustenance of the sub-regional body.
The Dean of the Cabinet stated: “As we acknowledge past government’s efforts in addressing the existing gaps of Liberia in the Community’s institutions, let me also hasten to crave the indulgence of the Community to exert every effort to see Liberia’s pioneering leadership reflected in all organs of ECOWAS.
He added that Liberia has used its motherly love to help many of our Sisterly States of ECOWAS, but unfortunately, our Country has lost its deserving quota in an exponential proportion; due in large measure to the civil war that engulfed the country and the attendant economic consequences”.
Minister Kemayah, who officially opened a two-day Consultative workshop with media organizations on ECOWAS VISION 2050, held on May 20, 2021 at Cape Hotel said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under his leadership remains unwavering in its commitment; as an integral part of its ongoing reform process; to continue to work with the ECOWAS Commission, and ECOWAS in general to ensure a paradigm shift in the premise.
Liberia’s Chief Diplomat applauded the ECOWAS Commission for the support and opportunity to have his inputs in the Community’s impending 2050 Vision as a way of effectuating the Community’s principle of; “from ECOWAS of States to ECOWAS of People”.
“At the same time, we also want to use this opportunity to urge our stakeholders and participants to consider the indispensable role of the media in strengthening governance and development; especially in forecasting our Community’s development,” the Minister noted
Amb. Kemayah also encouraged participants to remain steadfast in the processes leading to the dissemination of either relevant or appropriate information of the activities of ECOWAS as the region endeavors to forge a more enhanced partnership for the Community’s development.
“Let me not forget to apprise you of our collective quest to promote and sustain peace, unity and stability as necessary pillars for the realization of the Community’s development vision. The Media is pivotal and crucial in attaining this objective.
“Those anticipated efforts to strengthen the path of our Community’s development; place a compelling cloud over stakeholders and members of our media community to ensure that this visioning exercise meets the desired goal for our ECOWAS region,” Minister Kemayah noted.
For his part, the Minister of Information, Culture and tourism, Hon. Ledgerhood J. Rennie said Information Communication and Technology plays a pivotal role in today’s modern world, shaping and driving mass public perception and reception of issues, policies and actions- whether they are global, regional, national or even local, through the use of various media types- traditional, social and multimedia gadgets and platforms.
Minister Rennie further emphasized that the advancements in ICT, a vast new world of opportunities are available to the media for production of creative content and means geared towards building a better world for ourselves.
The Liberia’s information Minister, however, stated that ECOWAS member states must also be mindful that the latitudes made available by the use of the internet to reach mass populations should not be abused or harnessed for the wrong reasons.
“There are a plethora of examples in our respective operational areas; this gathering now has a unique platform to ensure that Vision 2050 addresses such a genuine concern”.
Accordingly, he said this consultative gathering of media experts from across the region by ECOWAS is not just appropriate, but the right approach in capturing the region’s media by-in and inclusion for deriving an all embracing and encompassing Vision that will serve as the roadmap for the development of the common world for the next three decades.
“So I urge you my professional and esteemed media colleagues participating in these two-days of consultations to be bold, open, far-reaching, fair and pragmatic in your deliberations ensuring that the best ideas of, and for the region’s media are captured in Vision 2050”, Minister Rennie said.
Speaking on behalf of Madam Finda Koroma, Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Nat B. Walker, Officer-In-Charge of Liberia office, said the authority of Heads of State and Government adopted the ECOWAS Vision 2020 in June 2007 as a strategic framework for the transformation of ECOWAS into a borderless, peaceful and prosperous region.
He noted that the journey of the vision 2050 is a continuation of what they started and ended together through the vision 2020.
Mr. Walker further stated that the 2020 vision which was titled “Towards a Democratic and Prosperous Community” was based on five pillars, namely: peace and security; good governance; development of region’s resources; economic and monetary integration; and the promotion of the private sector.
He said the implementation of the vision 2020 has led to some remarkable successes, notable among them are the institution of the ECOWAS common passport, the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance, the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card and the Common External Tariff, which has facilitated free movement within the region.
Speaking further, the Officer –In- Charge of the ECOWAS office in Liberia, Walker said others include the implementation of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework, and the establishment of the West Africa Health Organization 9WAHO), which has been instrumental in the fight against epidemics and other health emergencies such as Ebola and COVID-19.
The workshop brought together several media executives from the 15 member countries, to include Madam Esthella Karmo, Director General of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), Umaru Fofana, BBC, Madam Eva Flomo, Coordinator of ECOWAS Radio among others.