Press Statements: President Barrow Reaffirms Support for Civic Education & Commends ECOWAS

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Fajara, The Gambia, 5 June 2017 – President Adama Barrow has reaffirmed his support for civic education in The Gambia. Receiving a delegation from the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) in his office on Friday, President Barrow said the NCCE played a critical role in educating the masses. “An enlightened people are an empowered people,” he noted.

The NCCE delegation called on the Gambian President to introduce its members and brief him on the Council’s activities, as well as the constraints that it faced in executing its mandate. Council Director Alhajie Sering Fye explained that one of the main inhibiting factors was not having an approved budget to facilitate proper planning. He said that other challenges included not having a permanent office for the Council, mobility challenges in reaching communities due to old vehicles that were no longer road-worthy, and difficulties in organising outreach activities.

Director Fye spoke of plans to decentralise the Council into the various regions in order to get closer to the people. He said that it had developed a strategic plan, which could form the basis for a review of the National Council for Civic Education Act.

President Barrow told the delegation that this was a time of reform and planning across the board. He explained that reforms were underway to decongest the Office of the President by decentralising various portfolios to the right ministries.  He added that his government was consulting both at bilateral and multilateral levels for support to the country. The President reminded the Council members that despite the difficult situation inherited, there was hope, and he assured them that their concerns had been well noted.

Chairman Fye thanked the President for his support and said the Council had noted his commitment to civic education and civic awareness when he singled it out to Gambians in his Independence speech in February.

Mr. Fye pointed out that the majority of the Gambian populace did not receive formal education and he stressed the importance of sensitising through community meetings, workshops and the use of community radio. END

News Release 

President Barrow Commends ECOWAS for Dedication and Professionalism 

Fajara, Monday, 5th June – Gambian President Adama Barrow has praised the regional economic body, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its continued success. Giving the vote of thanks on behalf of his colleagues at the conclusion of this weekend’s 51st Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Monrovia, Liberia, President Barrow said ECOWAS owed its success to its dedication and professionalism.

President Barrow attributed the success of this summit to ECOWAS’ Council of Ministers and the planning that went into the technical meetings held from the 1st to 3rd June in preparations for the summit.

Gambian Foreign Affairs Minister Ousainou Darbo and Trade Minister Isatou Touray and their Permanent Secretaries participated in the preparatory meetings. The Gambian President expressed his appreciation for ECOWAS’ support to The Gambia. He said it was vital for the stabilisation of the country and was helping to ensure that his government undertook the necessary security and other reforms for sustainable development and good governance.

Outgoing ECOWAS Chairperson and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf spoke of the various developments achieved during her tenure, as well as the challenges faced.  She said the sub-regional organisation remained determined to restructure its institutions, reduce costs and improve services.  President Johnson Sirleaf noted that the priority for ECOWAS was the promotion of unity and solidarity, peace, security and integration.

Nigerian President Muhamadu Buhari was commended for the significant support his country had provided for the organisation, while other members were urged to contribute their quota to meet their obligations.

The Liberian President called on members to educate border security officers on the rights of people moving across borders in order to strengthen regional ties.  She also encouraged the integration of young people in agriculture and industrial development, as she said this would reduce unemployment in the region.

President Sirleaf gave special recognition to and welcomed President Adama Barrow to the ECOWAS family. She said she was elated that under her leadership, the sub-regional body supported by the African Union, European Union and the United Nations, has been able to work hard to end the impasse in The Gambia. She added that ECOWAS would continue to support the new administration. Madam Sirleaf concluded by symbolically handing over the mantle of leadership to the incoming ECOWAS Chairperson President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a special guest of honour at the summit. He shared his country’s plan to expand cooperation with Africa.  He told the West Africa leaders that Israel celebrated diversity and planned to work with ECOWAS to expand trade, agriculture and other industries in West Africa.

ECOWAS is gaining momentum in its leadership to take decisive action on sub-regional issues. Statements from the African Union, European Union and the United Nations Office For West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) all referenced the strong leadership that ECOWAS had developed in the region. Recently, the organisation has received requests for membership and association from several countries, including Morroco, Tunisia and Mauritania. Israel has requested observer status.

The leaders discussed governance, institutional and administrative reports presented by ECOWAS Commission President Marcel De Souza and his team.

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