21st Session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE): Debating the new challenges and prospects of regional integration in West Africa

Cotonou (Benin), 25 June 2018 (ECA) – The Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Government of Benin are organizing the 21st Session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) for West Africa in Cotonou, on June 27-29.

This 21st Session will be held in an international context marked by some major accomplishments such as the finalization of negotiations for the official launch of the Continental Free Trade Area and the speeding up of the ECOWAS monetary program. It aims at debating recent trends that impact the economic and social development of West African countries in order to identify the main challenges to be met and to make recommendations to accelerate growth and the economic transformation of the sub-region. It will also enable participants and delegates to examine statutory reports prepared by the Secretariat, the Report on the implementation of the work plan of the SRO-WA in 2017 and the outlook for 2018, the Report on the regional profile of West Africa, and the Report on the progress made in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in West Africa.

According to the Director of the ECA Sub-Regional Office for West Africa, Dimitri Sanga, “with the signature to date by 44 countries of the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Africa began its march towards the creation of a free trade area that aims to promote trade between countries of the African Union and to make Africa the largest single market in the world. According to our projections, the implementation of the CAFTA will result, by 2022, in the development of 52% of intra-African trade. It will also spur the structural and industrial transformation of Africa and the creation of African and even continenental value chains.

Organized under the theme:“Regional integration in West Africa: new challenges and prospects”, the 21st ICE will take the form of plenary sessions and round table conferences, at which reports prepared by the Bureau, and papers by eminent experts will be presented and discussed.

It will be preceded by an ad hoc meeting of a group of experts, equally to hold in Cotonou on the 25 and 26 June 2018, on the theme:“Implications of ECOWAS potential expansion and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”.

Delegates from 15 West African States are invited to participate at the 21th Session of the ICE. Invitations will be extended to high-level representatives and experts from the ECOWAS, the WAEMU, the Mano River Union (MRU) and other Inter-Governmental Organizations of the sub-region. The African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank and the NEPAD will be represented at this meeting as well. Apart from the ECA, other agencies of the United Nations System will also contribute to the success of the meeting, as well as other development partners and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Development and research institutions dealing with population issues in Africa will also be invited to contribute to the exchange.

Note to editors

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The mission of its Office for West Africa is to support the development of the 15 countries of the sub-region (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo) by helping them to formulate and implement policies and programs that can contribute to their economic and social transformation.

The ICE is a body set up by the United Nations General Assembly. Every year it brings together high-level decision-makers from Member-States with the goal, not only of debating economic and social performance and proposing relevant recommendations, but also of reviewing the activities of the Office and supervising the development and general implementation of its program of work, including the formulation of priority objectives for the sub-region. In this way, the ICE provides guidelines for the programs of the Office by ensuring the best integration of sub-regional priorities and makes recommendations in order to resolve issues that affect the economic and social development of the sub-region. These recommendations may, if necessary, be examined by the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

In West Africa, the ICE meets annually to debate economic and social performance on the basis of working documents prepared by the Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA/SRO-WA).

The ICE is hosted every year, at its request, by a Member State of the sub-region.

For more information, please contact:
Tahirou Gouro, Communication Officer,

Mob: +227 90 99 99 39
Email: tgouro@uneca.org


For more information on the ICE, please visit: https://www.uneca.org/fr/ice21-wa