Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Permanent Observer to the United Nations speaks on promise of democratic consolidation in West Africa at University of Massachussetts-Boston’ 6th Africa day and 2024 Academic conference

Following an invitation to serve as Keynote Speaker at the University of Massachussetts-Boston’s 6th Africa Day, co-organized by UMASS-Boston, West Africa Research Association (WARA) and West Africa Research Centre (WARC) of Boston University, the ECOWAS Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Ambassador Kinza Jawara-Njai delivered the Keynote address of the 2024 Academic Conference of UMASS Boston’s John W. McCormark Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at its Campus in Boston on Friday, 19th April 2024. The Theme of the Scholarly Exchange was “Democratic Backsliding in West Africa: Contradictions, Challenges and Difference”.

Ambassador Jawara-Njai’s speech focused on “Why West African Democracy is on the Right Path despite Challenges”. It gave an overview on ECOWAS as a Regional Enonomic Community (REC), its normative Legal Instruments on Democracy and Good Governance and touched on efforts by ECOWAS in promoting Democracy, Good Governance and development in West Africa.

In showcasing gains and challenges in consolidating democracy in the Region, Amb. Jawara-Njai acknowledged present reversal in democratic trends through a number of Coup d’etats and Unconstitutional Changes of Government experienced in the region and highlighted demarches of the Bloc to return the 4 ECOWAS Countries under Military Rule to Constitutional order. She further highlighted that despite Governance challenges in some ECOWAS States, Liberal Democracy continues to thrive and has been gaining grounds in West Africa as can be seen with Election successes in the 11 other ECOWAS Member States.

Amb. Jawara-Njai showcased the Free, Fair and Credible Election outcomes of the recent past in countries such as Ghana, Gambia, Benin, Nigeria, Cape Verde etc. and most recently in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal. She pointed out that the recent Electoral success in Senegal clearly demonstrates signs of a maturing democratic culture and resilience in the region with marked Will of citizens and Strong credible functioning Institutions playing key roles in not only ushering in desired democratic change but also offering renewed hope for the future of democracy in West Africa.

Topical Research Papers on Democracy and Development in West Africa relating to the Theme of the Conference were also presented by distinguished Scholars at the event. Other Keynote Speakers were Ms. Oge Onubogu, Director, Africa Program, Woodrow Wilson Int’l Centre Washington D.C. and Mr. Gilles O. Yabi, Founder and CEO of WATHI in Senegal respectively.

The University of Massachussetts-Boston, in recognition of ECOWAS support and contribution to the Event named its 2024 Africa Scholars Forum Democracy Award in honour of ECOWAS and African Union and presented “The 2024 Africa Scholars Forum ECOWAS-AFRICA Union Democracy Students Award” to 2 Final Year Doctoral Candidates in the Global Governance and Human Security Programme in support of dissertation Research on Democracy, Human Rights and Justice in Africa.

The Scholarly Exchange afforded ECOWAS opportunity to exchange and showcase democratisation efforts in the Region and the present positive strides and promise of democratic consolidation in West Africa.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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