ECOWAS: Over $26m Spent on Humanitarian Activities in Two Years

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has disclosed that between 2023 and 2024 it expended over $26 million on humanitarian activities in West Africa.

The regional body said it also supported sport federations in the region with $100,000 each per year.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, in Abuja, ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, Professor Fatou Sow Sarr, said the regional body startups in scientific innovation with the sum of $50,000 in the area of youth innovation.

Sarr, said a total of $700,000 was used for the training of 30 young people from the region in Masters and doctoral programmes.
She also revealed that countries under sanctions were not excluded from the humanitarian gesture of the regional body. She stressed that ECOWAS puts significant resources into the humanitarian sector for displaced people, migration, floods and various forms of disaster:
“Guinea under sanctions received nearly 600,000 dollars in January 2024, namely: 100,000 dollars for the fire at the oil depot and 499,390 dollars for the floods,” she said.

For the displaced people within the region, Sarr said, “In 2023 for floods and nutrition out of a total of 8.5 million people affected, ECOWAS provided support to half of the victims, or 4 million people for an amount of $12.6 million.
“In 2024, ECOWAS has released 9 million dollars for internally displaced people, refugees, asylum seekers, as well as for the communities that welcome them (i.e. all 15 countries).
“ECOWAS has allocated $1 million for stabilization in Nigeria (victims of terrorism, displaced people, injured people, rehabilitation and strengthening community resilience).”

The commissioner also revealed that “Out of a fund of 25 million dollars intended for the fight against terrorism (Nigeria, Burkina, Mali and Niger), ECOWAS has reserved four million dollars for humanitarian actions.”

She explained that ECOWAS places more emphasises on prevention, adding “We have a disaster reduction strategy and tools such as the observation, monitoring and alert center which allows ECOWAS to monitor displaced populations and floods, to anticipate problems. and better manage crisis situations.”
On the programmes for the youth integration within the region she said that the commission intervention was in the area of volunteers programmes, sport and economic integration
According to her, “Since 2014, ECOWAS has posted 217 volunteers in the following countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, Burkina, Benin.

“ECOWAS works to promote the spirit of volunteering among young people to give them opportunity for professional development, enhance their civic engagement and foster their conscience for community service.”

ECOWAS, she also said supported sports federations of each member state with  $100,000 per year.

Sarr also listed other sporting activities and union supported to include the union of deaf sports associations, university sport development organisations. ECOWAS cycling tours Lagos- Accra 2010, Lagos Abidjan 2012.

“The Ecowas Game Event that included 5 to 6 sports disciplines were organized in 2009 and 2011,” she added.

She also said ECOWAS supported the Entrepreneurship project and youth mentoring Business incubation project.

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