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Speaker of the 5th Legislature of the regional Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Parliament, His Excellency Right HonourableSidie Mohamed Tunis has confirmed that his wish is to build a stronger ECOWAS parliament than what he met.

His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis is the first Sierra Leonean ever to be elected Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament and he is a native of the Southern Province of the country as he also represents the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) in Constituency 101,Pujehun District.

“I wish to further reiterate my commitment towards building a stronger ECOWAS Parliament than what I met. I expect to achieve this feat with the cooperation of all members and other stakeholders,” HE Tunis stated whilst making his closing remarks at the joint committee delocalized meeting held in Lome, Republic of Togo from 17th to 21st November 2020. The meeting was held on the theme: “ECOWAS in the Era of COVID 19 and beyond: Focusing on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to promote Distance Education and Training in the ECOWAS Member States,” and comprised of ECOWAS Parliament members of the standing committees on Telecommunication and Information Technology; Education, Science and Culture; Political Affairs, Peace, Security and APRM; Infrastructure; and Legal Affairs and Hunan Rights.

Whilst ending the meeting, the Right Honourable Speaker said: “I cannot but over-emphasize the opportunity we have had to listen and learn from the experts on the theme,” adding that “the meeting has also provided a window for Parliament’s identification of a relevant intervention mechanism to make an efficient contribution to the implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol on Education and Training.”

However, Speaker Tunis said that they are now fraught with the challenge to reflect on the possibility of guaranteeing a truly digital learning environment with unhindered access to the internet. “Permit me to caution that we are likely to face many challenges in implementing the commitments we have made at this meeting,” he said.  However, the Speaker said that “parliament is committed to working with Member States in areas related to Information and Communications Technology, Science, and Innovation to digitally connect our societies together.”

The ECOWAS Parliament Speaker said he is optimistic that the insights provided by “our resource persons will set the basis for actions that are expected to bring the changes we envision for our Member States. I, therefore, wish to commend my colleagues, Members of Parliament, for the countless hours of hard work and the valuable contributions made during the deliberations that followed.”

“The ECOWAS Parliament stands prepared to follow up on the recommendations emanating from these discussions, and we express our unwavering commitment to working with all stakeholders to make these resolutions a reality,” His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis assured.

Meanwhile, it could be recalled that the joint committee meeting in Lome is the 3rd meeting following two (2) other joint committee meetings which were all held in this month of November 2020, under the direct leadership of the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, HE Sidie Mohamed Tunis.

It could also be recalled that earlier, ECOWAS Parliament under the direct supervision of the Speaker HE Sidie Mohamed Tunis from 3rd to 7th November held a joint committee meeting in Cotonou, Republic of Benin to discuss “Africa continental free trade area. How feasible in the face of cross-border threats: Terrorism and Insecurity, Pandemics, Protectionalism”.

In addition, another joint committee meeting was held in Bissau, Republic of Guinea Bissau, also under the direct supervision of the ECOWAS Parliament Speaker with the theme “ECOWAS Food Security; Agricultural Production and the fight against COVID 19”.

The motive of these delocalized meetings according to the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament is to bring the regional parliament to the peoples of ECOWAS region.

By Abdul Malik Bangura

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