As the momentum on the Global Stop EPA Day gathers storm today, it is timely that Cape Verde would have just ended a three-day meeting, in collaboration with UNESCO on Regional integration in West Africa.
The theme of the conference was, according to this article on t he theme of "Nation-states and the challenges of regional integration in West Africa."
Ofcourse, I use the word "timely", because for those cognescenti of the EPA negotiations, the EU claims that it will facilitate ECOWAS regional integration. Progressive civil society knows this to be untrue.
But ofcourse, this UNESCO-funded seminar, under its programme of Management of Social Transformations programme (MOST) has more to do with the social implications of regional integration in ECOWAS and less to do with the EPAs.
The "specificity" of this article, to borrow from the article listed above, stems from the fact that in April this year, Cape Verde also played host to a similar meeting, where the meeting:
...examined the specificity of the Cape Verde archipelago within West African economic cooperation
Since its launch, the cases of 10 of the 15 ECOWAS member states have been analysed at national seminars in Benin (8-9 October 2005), Ghana (8-9 November 2005), Mali (14-15 November 2005), Burkina Faso (21-22 November 2005), Gambia (22-23 December 2005), Niger (18-19 October 2006), Togo (22-23 August 2006), Senegal (13-14 September 2006), Cape Verde (4-5 April 2007) and in Guinea (30-31 May 2007)
The uniqueness of the meeting was that it grouped together
scientists, political decision-makers and those involved in economic and social development with the support of several international organizations involved in social development in Africa (the African Capacity Building Foundation, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Trust Africa).
It's great to know that a book will come out of this meeting. The article maintains:
Every meeting leads to the publication of a book by the Karthala publishing house. The books on Benin, Mali, Senegal and Niger will be available at the Praia meeting, a UNESCO release said
It is expected that ann international conference will be held in AUTUMN 2008,
to produce a draft of proposals on regional integration for submission to the ECOWAS Heads of State.
We wait in eager anticipation!