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ECOWAS Commission calls for Private sector participation in Conflict resolution and management
(r-l) Professor Pat Utomi, Dr. Samuel Bwalya, representative of the UN and Mrs. Halima Ahmed, Commissioner for PAPS

Abuja 12 September 2017. The ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Security Mrs. Halima Ahmed on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission’s President, Marcel de Souza, opened a 2-day Conference on Leveraging the Power of the Private Sector on Conflict Resolution in West Africa on the 12th September, 2017 in at Abuja, Nigeria.

This conference is the first initiative to partner with the Private Sector actors from across West Africa on conflict prevention and peace building with support of Geselleschaft für Internationale Zusammernarbeit (GIZ) and the Danish Africa Programme for Peace.

“Our goal here is to examine opportunities and mechanisms to better understand the role of the private sector in conflict prevention and management across the region” she said while declaring the conference opened.

The gathering according to the Commissioner is meant to move the region along the pathway to sustainable peace which requires accurate predictions and effective response to emerging violent conflicts.

This she said, can be achieved by working with Member States to harness and deploy all resources towards a sustainable peaceful region.

The conference was initiated in order to create an enabling environment for the youth of West Africa throughout their life cycle so they can embark on a journey to economic independence that will pave the way to consolidate regional integration and promote human security. It also served as a platform for all relevant stakeholders to discuss the interest of the Private Sector I national and regional peace and security and propose strategies for ECOWAS’ collaboration with the Private Sector to promote peace building initiatives in their communities.

(r-l) Mr. Ludwig Kirchner, Head of Programme, GIZ support Programme to the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Constant Gnacadja, Programme Officer, Conflict Prevention

In his opening remarks, the Country Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Dr. Samuel Bwalya who spoke on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon stressed the negative impact conflict has had on productivity and overall human development within the region.

“Conflict has reduced the capacity of the private sector to act as the drivers of economic growth and development. On our part in UNDP, we recognise that partnership with the private sector in implementing SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) particularly in the area of conflict preventions, primarily in sensitization through the provisions of stable, predictable and productive milieu for their businesses to thrive in a peaceful environment which aids development” He added.

Group photo

In a goodwill message, Mr. Kirchner, highlighted that the conference came at a time where there have been increased rates of criminality, economic hardship and youth unemployment which has not only affected ECOWAS but also the private sector. According to him, the conference provided a platform wherein ECOWAS and the Private Sector can identify shared risk as well as contribute towards the translation of the ECPF into a practical tool to move the West African region to durable peace.

Already the Nigerian government has signed a partnership with UNDP to support the private sector advisory group of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Fund (UNSDGF), which is the first of its kind in Africa, to help renew public-private participations in the promotion of growth and development.

At the end of this conference, participants who were drawn from the Regional organisations, UN, Diplomatic partners, private Sector and Civil Societies are expected to have a clarity of the objectives which include a better understanding of the role of the private sector in conflict prevention and management across the region, contribute to the setting up of a mechanism that consolidates and benefits private sector and ECOWAS interventions in their respective fields and increase the knowledge of ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) amongst the private sector stake holders and Improve resources mobilization strategies for conflict preventions.

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