A major boost is expected to be given to ECOWAS-Germany cooperation when the president of the Federal Republic of Germany Mr. Joachim Gauck visits the ECOWAS Commission on the 10th of February 2016.
Accompanied by his spouse and first lady Daniela Schadt, senior officials, diplomats and journalists, President Gauck would be meeting with the president of the ECOWAS Commission Kadre Desire Ouedraogo. A high-ranking German business delegation is also on president Gauck’s larger delegation.
Alongside president Ouedraogo, Mr. Gauck is expected to make his grand statement bordering on advancing Germany- ECOWS collaboration. A major feature of ECOWAS-Germany Cooperation is the promotion of regional integration, through strategic management and technical advice.
Since the beginning of special cooperation between ECOWAS and Germany in 2006, the European giant has been providing support for ECOWAS in the main areas of organisational development, peace and conflict prevention, electoral assistance as well as trade harmonization among others.
Germany has been supporting the ECOWAS Commission through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Frederich Ebert Stiftung since 2006 to enable it execute its core mandate, which is facilitating economic and political integration. Related to this is the support for the Commission’s strategic management aiming to improve its capacity to steer work through impact oriented monitoring as well as strengthening selected internal management capacities, such as Human Resources and knowledge management.
In the area of trade; cooperation between the European giant and the regional organization fosters the implementation of the project known as Promoting West Africa Trade Integration (WATIP), which targets the capacities of the ECOWAS Commission to design and implement its trade policy and to promote trade within West Africa and between the region and the rest of the world. Support in this regard has also afforded the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), as well as the Common External Tariff (CET). Financial support in the related fields include the cooperation of GIZ-EU-ECOWAS through the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) (2008-2013) to support trade, customs and private sector development. There is also a proposed €22 million funding in this regard with €1 million in Germany and the other €1 million for West Africa (ECOWAS: € 500,000; UEMOA: € 500,000)
Regarding peace and security, there is a high level of cooperation between Germany and key actors in the Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) Department with the purpose of strengthening the Commission’s capacities for conflict prevention and peacekeeping in the region just as there is continuous work to improve the ECOWAS Early Warning System (ECOWARN).
In addition to this is an electoral assistance framework which has led to the development of a functional Election Observation Database and an improved Election Observation Methodology that contributes immensely to the prevention of conflicts in the context of election-related crises.
Similarly, the relationship has brought about the professionalization of election observation and the development of policies and procedures for the civilian component of the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF).
Concomitant with the training components of the cooperation, comparative studies and other collaborative efforts, many fruits have fallen in the community basket. These include an operational and harmonised regional monitoring system. Through funding from the German Foreign Office, the police component of the ECOWAS Stand-by Force is being strengthened.
Also in the works, is the first draft of the ECOWAS Community Strategic Framework (CSF) ready to be presented to ECOWAS Member States. Once adopted, the CSF will set the strategic orientation and priorities for the time frame 2016-2020. This is an important step for the effective establishment of ECOWAS regional integration initiatives.
The ECOWAS-Germany cooperation is wide-ranging. Attesting to this is the special funding and capacity building assistance from various institutions like the state Bank-Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau ( KfW) and Germany’s national Metrology Institute- the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) which continues to provide needed technical support as well as the Management System Information (MSI) / Management Information System (MIS)
The effect of the support of Germany for ECOWAS projects and programmes spans the field of energy and health care including the proposal in 2014 for a new German commitment regarding the continuation of existing projects (2006-2020) as well as newly identified ones, etc.
On the symbolic visit, the German Mission in Nigeria said “the main aim of President Gauck’s visit is to pay tribute to the good relations between ECOWAS and Germany. It is important to the President to promote even closer friendship between ECOWAS and Germany”