Aftican Matters

Regional Integration: East & West African Parliaments Set For Enhanced Cooperation

The East and West African Legislative Parliaments are to join forces towards a seamless cooperation and integration of the African Continent.

This resolution was arrived at when the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Joseph Ntakirutimana paid a courtesy visit to the Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), Sidie Tunis in his office in Abuja .

Speaking to journalists after a closed door meeting, Dr Tunis said both parliaments have agreed to come up with resolutions to enhance visa-free movement across West and East African countries and to share knowledge on best parliamentary practices.

“We have had very short but important discussions bordering on the two institutions as to how we can collaborate in the interest of the people of the two regions.

“For the first time, these two regions have agreed as a parliament to work together to make sure that we bring them together.

“If these two regions through the parliament can work together, we will be bringing Africa together.

“Free movement is key within our regional body, our aim is integration. Free movement is an integral part. The aim is to work together for Africa to become one.

“If the two regions collaborate, we believe we can come up with resolutions that can enhance free movement of people from West Africa to East Africa and from East Africa to West Africa.

“Like West Africa, the ECOWAS Parliament is playing a very important role in ensuring that we have free movement. And it is the same thing that we want to collaborate with EALA, so that both regions can collaborate to integrate.

“So the whole idea of EALA and the ECOWAS Parliament is to see how we can share these ideas and see how we can take into consideration what is good in EALA bring to ECOWAS and what ECOWAS has that will be of good to EALA.” Tunis said.

Dr. Tunis noted that, “free movement is an integral part on how we can collaborate more and because we represent the people of Africa, and we believe we can come up with the resolutions that can enhance free movement of people from West Africa to East Africa and vice versa. That is why I said that the aim is to work together for Africa to become one.”

On his part, Dr. Joseph, who was accompanied on the visit by a member of the Tanzanian parliament, Dr. Mlozi Shogo, used the opportunity to solicit for the support of the ECOWAS Parliament for the candidature of Dr. Tulia Ackson, the Speaker of the Tanzanian Parliament who is vying for the Speakership of the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU).

According to Shogo, Ackson is a female lawyer, academic and politician that is said to possess profound credibility to lead the IPU, which represents women empowerment and progress and an inspiration to women not only in Africa but to the rest of the world.

Dr. Tunis accompanied his guests to visit the ECOWAS Commission, where they strengthened deliberations with the President of the commission, Dr. Omar Touray.

On the issue of the candidature of Ackson, Dr. Tunis, while speaking when he also accompanied Hon Joseph for a visit to the Nigerian National Assembly said “we are very happy that the African Union has already endorsed her. If we support her we will be doing so as Africans because she will represent Africa.”

According to Dr. Joseph, Africa clinching IPU’s Presidency after 100 years of the Union’s existence is an opportunity that must not elude the continent.

The Deputy speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, who received the delegation, said the visit was significant because it is a step forward in the continent for closer collaboration for mutual interest and for Africa to speak with one voice.

He added that in unity “we can tackle problems such” climate change, human trafficking” especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

He also encouraged Dr. Ackson in her dream of becoming the Speaker of IPU.

Mr. Kalu noted that the ECOWAS Parliament and the East African Legislative Assembly’s collaboration signals a proactive approach to enhance integration and business opportunities across Africa, fostering unity and progress on the continent.

Additionally, their support for Dr. Tulia Ackson’s candidature further underscores their commitment to empowering women and promoting Africa’s representation on the global stage.

Joseph said no African has ever led the IPU, which is the global organization of national parliaments.

He then added that it is important for Africa to come together to support Auckson, who is the speaker of the Tanzanian parliament.




Share this:

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *