Monrovia - The ECOWAS National Office of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning launches a series of activities commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, established on May 28, 1975.

In 1964, President William V.S. Tubman proposed an economic union for West Africa leading to an agreement which was signed in 1965 by the four states of Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. President Tubman’s vision was subsequently expanded by Nigerian President Gen. Yakubu Gowon and his Togolese counterpart Gnassinge Eyadema. In 1972, the two leaders toured the region in support of the integration idea and their efforts culminated in the signing of the Treaty of Lagos in 1975, which officially gave birth to ECOWAS.

The 40th Anniversary activities will shed light on the enormous contributions ECOWAS has made to sub-regional socio-economic development, with particular emphasis on the role Liberia has played since the formation of ECOWAS. The ECOWAS 40TH Anniversary Celebration events bring together stakeholders of ECOWAS, the Diplomatic Mission, and officials of government, academics, historians, experts and other relevant personalities on the sub-regional development.

Among other things, the events will focus on:

A review of aim of the establishment of ECOWAS, which is to promote interstate economic and political cooperation.
An assessment of progress made over the past 40 years toward achieving the various aims of ECOWAS;

A consideration of critical constraints and challenges to the ECOWAS model; and
An Assessment and discussion of the ECOWAS of People Vision passed in 2007 by West African Heads of States. The Vision looks to make West Africa a/an:
Borderless region where the population have access to its abundant resources and is able to exploit them through the creation of opportunities under as sustainable environment;

Integrated region within which the population enjoy the free movement have access to efficient education and health, engage in economic activities and live in dignity, in an environment of peace and security;

Region governed in accordance with the principles of democracy, the rule of law and good governance.
For the successful implementation of the 40th anniversary celebration, the events are divided into two major components.

Component One: Citizen Involvement and Active Participation. These will include:

    Public discussion, round table
    Essay writing
    Fun activities (sports & Cultural)
    TV and Radio talk show
    Closing program

Under this component, citizens will be involved in activities (public discussions and round tables involving students, traditional and religious leaders, opinion leaders, civil society, etc), fun and entertainment activities such as Sporting and Cultural will also be organized to commemorate the 40th anniversary, with the aims to increase their knowledge and awareness of ECOWAS and its activities.

Young people from the 15 ECOWAS Member States will also compete in an essay-writing on the following relevant General and Sub Theme:

General Theme:

Relevance and challenges of Regional Integration in West   Africa; the role of the ECOWAS Community, Citizens, Member State Government and Institutions in enhancing this relevance and in Meeting the challenges

Sub Theme:

    Regional Integration or Regional Co-habitation: Challenges and Opportunities for ECOWAS youths;
    West African Youth a catalyst in the ECOWAS integration process;
    Expectations and aspirations of West African Youth in the Regional Integration process.

Component Two: Enhancing ECOWAS Visibility. This involves:

    Production of audio-visual documentaries
    Holding of interviews
    News publications and Radio jingles
    Distribution of brochures, banners, stickers , Souvenirs and the like

Under this component, the media (print and electronics) will be involved in the dissemination of relevant information and the promotion of ECOWAS image.

The ECOWAS National Office encourages all stakeholders to use the 40th   anniversary Celebration as an opportunity to tell ECOWAS story and also a window into revamping the activities of ECOWAS in Liberia. The ECOWAS National Office assures citizens of ECOWAS and all Stakeholders of its renewed commitment and obligation to provide regular update on events of the 40th   anniversary as well as on the general activities of the ECOWAS National Office.