By Bukar Bolori
The European Union (EU) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German government’s foreign aid agency, have handed over IT equipment to the ECOWAS Commission to ensure effective service delivery at the West African regional body.
This was part of technical assistance aimed at making ECOWAS meet international best practice standard in order to access financial and other supports from the EU and other world donor agencies and foreign governments.
The EU and GIZ donated the equipment to the Commission on Friday in Abuja at the official launch of the EU funded Institutional Support to ECOWAS (ISE) programme, which is aimed at enhancing
the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of the EU aid in West Africa.
Speaking at the programme held at the ECOWAS Training Centre in Abuja, the Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mrs Cecile Tassin-Pelzer,, said that the programme was developed to train internal personnel who will in turn train staff of the Commission.
She explained that the internal trainers will support in conducting regular training for old and new staff of ECOWAS institution.
She said: “It is my pleasure to welcome you to the formal launch of the EU funded Institutional Support to ECOWAS Programme.
“A 4.85 million Euro Programme also co-funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic cooperation and Development and implemented by the GIZ.
“Today, we shall be handing over equipment purchased under the programme to support the training center and celebrate the graduation of the center’s first set on internal ECOWAS Trainers.
“The Institutional Support Programme which we are launching today was developed as a follow-up to previous programmes to strengthen the Public Finance Management and Institutional Reforms initiated by ECOWAS.
“The programme began in Dec. 2020 and aims to ensure that the ECOWAS Commission, as well as the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) attain international standards in finance, audit, accounting and human resource.
“This programme has provided support for the validation process of revised ECOWAS Staff regulation support towards the preparation of harmonized Human resource policies and proccedures.
“As well as the drafting and validation of a new ECOWAS Code of Ethics,” Tassin-Pelzer said.
Also speaking at the event, the Head of Component, Institutional Support for ECOWAS (ISE), Natalie Ba said for several years, Germany has been supporting ECOWAS in strengthening their strategic management competencies and their preparations for the EU-pillar assessment.
She said: “These two areas of support go hand in hand and offer a great deal of potential for synergies. The pillar assessment is a very deep and thorough evaluation of the internal processes of an organisation. It looks at all aspects of the inner workings and processes within an organisation and allows it to better implement its objectives.”
She noted that a pillar assessed ECOWAS Commission would achieve two major objectives, “First, it would allow the Commission to independently implement funds from the European Union. It would thus increase both its independence but also its potential impact with more funding available to be used for its programmes.
Second, it would prove that the internal processes of the Commission are compliant with international standards of – among other things – Internal control, accounting and auditing processes as well as data protection. Through that, the ECOWAS Commission could demonstrate once again to all its beneficiaries and stakeholders that it is a progressive and forward-looking organisation that has dedicated itself to excellence in all aspects of its operations.”
She added that: “For Germany there is a clear interest in supporting the ECOWAS Commission, increasing this regional bodies reputation and hence showcasing the value of our past cooperation as well as laying the foundations for its future.”
Commissioner for Human Resources, ECOWAS Commission, Prof. Dias Jeremias, who represented the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, at the event, explained that Institutional Support to ECOWAS (ISE) was set up to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of the EU aid in West Africa.
He noted that: “The ISE, which is part of the overall action ‘Support to the ECOWAS Commission on Organisational Development’ (GIZ OD) commissioned by BMZ has provided technical assistance on institutional reforms at the ECOWAS Commission and the EBID. Since the signing of the Contribution Agreement between the stakeholders and the commissioning by BMZ towards the end of 2020, the ISE which is jointly funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ has been committed to supporting both the ECOWAS Commission and EBID which is aimed at preparing both institutions for the EU pillar certification to directly manage funds provided by the European Union.”