The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called on the private sector to invest in peace and security within the region.
The Director, Humanitarian and Social Affairs, ECOWAS, Dr Sintiki Ugbe, made the call weekend at the end of the ECOWAS-EU PSS Project meeting.
She said that businesses will only thrive where there is peace and security, adding that the issue with peace and security is beyond law and enforcement.
She, therefore, called on the private sector to join hands with the regional and national government to address challenges to peace and security in the region.
Ugbe, while recalling how the private sector rallied around the government during the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the same could be done to address peace and security.
She said: “We should leverage on the COVID-19 example and bring in the private sector and say if there is no peace and security whether nationally or regional, it will affect your business and so why don’t you also work with us whether it is ECOWAS or national government, or even the civil society to make the investment to ensure that there is security and peace in our region.
“I think that there are many areas we are looking at to ensure peace and security within our region. It is open for the private sector to see where they can make an added investment to make sure that communities are stabilised.
“For example, can you provide resources to strengthen resilience and recovery where there are areas that have been affected by climate change and people’s livelihood have been distorted? How do you intervene in ensuring that there is recovery for such communities so that they are not drawn into the conflict? That is an important investment.
“We shouldn’t look at investment in ensuring security and stability not just in the area of law and enforcement alone.
“What we are saying is that we should broaden investment in law and security to address other issues that are very important to community citizens that can bring about stability within our region.
“There is an important role for the private sector in peace and security within our region. It is not something we should leave to government, it is not something we should leave to ECOWAS alone but you know it is something they can play an important role within the region.”
The ECOWAS flagship peace and security project, supported by the European Union (EU) and other development partners has come to a close with stakeholders calling for the consolidation and sustainability of the project’s remarkable gains and support for successor programmes.
The Euro 29-million European Union Support to ECOWAS Regional Peace, Security and Stability Mandate Programme (ECOWAS-EU PSS Project), which was co-funded by the EU under its Regional Indicative Programme (RIP 10th EDF) and ECOWAS to the tune of €27 million and €2.33 million, respectively, recorded remarkable achievements both at the ECOWAS Commission and the member states levels.
“Apart from laying a solid foundation for its successor ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) programme, the PSS Project also built synergy with the African Union’s Peace and Security Architecture, member states and also provided linkages with other Regional Economic Communities (RECs),” Ugbe said.
Noting that the PSS Project had cut across various directorates, including political affairs; social affairs and gender; monitoring and evaluation, finance and human resources, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, among others, she thanked the EU, UNDP, Lite Africa civil society organizations, especially the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), and the media for supporting the successful implementation of the PSS project.