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ECOWAS Launches Sahel Database Initiative

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Experts from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are meeting in Lome, Togo from 7th to 10th September, 2015 to strategize on a

comprehensive data base initiative for Member States of Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria that are within the Sahel belt.

The meeting which is to prepare grounds for the launch of a common database for the Sahel is expected to further pave the way for the emergence of the technical conditions for same in an integrated Sahel-Saharan region. 

Participants are expected to develop and propose for adoption the terms of reference of an inventory study of existing information systems and databases in the Sahel-Saharan region of ECOWAS as well as develop a logical framework for monitoring and evaluation and identify indicators for monitoring the action plan of the Sahel strategy.

In Lome, participants will also be informed on the ECOWAS Sahel strategy, action plan, the coordination mechanism platform of the Sahel strategy and the Secretariat of the Sahel G5 initiatives. As part of the meeting, representatives of Sahel Saharan States of the ECOWAS region will present information systems and existing databases in their respective countries, while regional institutions will also present their existing databases on the problems of the Sahel. 

The forum being coordinated by the Unit of the Community Development Programme (CDP) in the Department of Macroeconomic Policies of the ECOWAS Commission is expected to provide experts with the opportunity to lead discussions on the common framework for the review of information systems in the ECOWAS Sahel-Saharan region, the nature of information to be collected and the terms of reference of inventory study of information systems and databases existing in the Sahel-Saharan region of ECOWAS, as a prelude to the establishment of a common database for the region. 

In addition the experts will focus on the definition of a logical framework for monitoring and evaluation of the ECOWAS Sahel strategy and the identification of measurable indicators for monitoring the action plan. 

The common data base initiative is expected to address the problem of lack of economic information, and data requirements for modeling and orientation decisions which are very important to planning and implementation of intervention within the Member States.

The idea to address such problems was first initiated at the 43rd session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in July 2013 in Abuja, where the ECOWAS Commission was instructed to formulate a strategy for the stabilization and development of the Sahel-Saharan region. In collaboration with other stakeholders the ECOWAS Commission developed an ECOWAS Sahel Strategy, which is made up of actions in synergy with national, continental and international security and stability and development efforts of Sahel-Saharan areas 

The ECOWAS Sahel strategy is a regional response to the long-term challenges of development and stability of the Sahel-Saharan space. It aims at a long-term development of the Sahel-Saharan space opened and integrated economically and socially. This should eventually lead to the emergence of a community free from the scourge of hunger and malnutrition, and deeply rooted in the principles of tolerance, peace and democracy. 

The Strategy is well integrated into the ECOWAS Community Development Programme (CDP – ECOWAS), highlights 31 major projects with a total cost of 4.75 billion USD for the period 2015-2019. The financing of these projects will be mobilized as part of the Round Table for the financing of the Community Development Projects (CDP).

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