The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in collaboration with Media Response, has organized the maiden inter-school debate on Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to commemorate the 48th Anniversary of ECOWAS in Accra on Thursday.
The Acting Chief Director for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Ramses Cleland pointed out that the debate was to create an opportunity for the youth to engage in meaningful dialogue about the future of West Africa and the role that ECOWAS had played in promoting peace, stability and economic growth in the region.
He stated that the debate would help to strengthen people’s understanding of regional integration, explore innovative solutions to Africa’s problems and shape Africa’s future together.
“The platform is to create an avenue for young people to share their views, ideas and perspective on a range of issues,” he added.
The Chief Director urged member states to reflect on the successes chalked so far and the challenges that still lay ahead of the community as it marked the 48th Anniversary of ECOWAS.
On his part, the Head of ECOWAS National office, Mr Yakubu A. Dadu commended the organizers of the inter-school debate and reiterated the need for people to demonstrate the power of dialogue, engagement and respect for views, values and opinions.
He stated that the promotion of youth development and education was part of the objectives of ECOWAS and that the youth should be encouraged to engage in critical thinking, constructive dialogue and exploring new ideas to make a positive difference.
He stated that Africa has over 300 ethnic groups speaking 500 languages, a symbol of rich culture, heritage and vibrant economy that should be celebrated and used as a source of inspiration.
The Permanent Representative of ECOWAS to Ghana, Mr Baba Gana Wakil emphasized the importance of ECOWAS and urged the students to have interest in ECOWAS activities and must endeavour to protect and advance the course of ECOWAS.
The Senior High Schools which participated in the debate were Action Secondary Technical School, Accra Wesley Girls’ High School, Christian Methodist Senior High, Odorgonno Senior High School, Preset Pacesetters Senior High School, and O’Reilly Senior High School.
The first round of debate was won by Accra Wesley Girls’ High School. Odorgonno Senior High School won the second debate, and O’Reilly Senior High School won the final round of debate. The debate questions ranged from how ECOWAS can help member states develop faster, the ECOWAS protocol on the free movement of goods and people, and whether ECOWAS had a positive impact on the lives of West African youth.
In attendance were representatives from the West Africa Network for Peacekeeping (WANEP), ECOWAS External Relations Directorate, participating schools and Officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
Patience Anaadem, ISD