The participants were taken through topics like Trade Facilitation Agreement, The Media and ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme, Benefits and Opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), The Principles and Objectives of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Media reporting and advocacy techniques amongst other relevant topics regarding economy and trade policies.
At the closing ceremony, lead facilitator, Dr. Ken Ukaoha, urged the participants to use the knowledge gained to change the narrative and be a driving force for societal change.
Dr. Ukaoha said the journalists have been trained to change the dynamics by advocating for the true essence of ECOWAS.
“I want to thank you all for the respect you accorded me through the training period. You all have shown the level of understanding regarding these corporate issues, regarding our systems; ECOWAS, Trade, economic and integration issues and I realized that you were just coming up with the understanding”, Dr. Ukaoha is quoted as saying.
The ECOWAS-GIZ training lead facilitator believes that the journalists are going to be duteous in researching deeper into the issue of ECOWAS given the seriousness and dutifulness attached to the five-day training.
Meanwhile, the Director of Trade at ECOWAS, Dr. Kolawole Sofola, who officially opened the closed the training with the issuance of certificates, lauded the journalists for their commitment to bridge the gap of media advocacy on ECOWAS Trade Facilitation.
Dr. Sofola, on behalf of the regional body, promised to support every initiative of the journalists for the societal change.
“Generally we are here to see how we can build or strengthen your capacity to advocate more on trade issues. I heard during the discussion where the focus has been more on the Political issues but the earnest desire to bring us back to what ECOWAS was created for was heard loud and clear”.
The ECOWAS Director of Trade commended the journalists for taking the initiative of reinventing the wheels and highlighted economic growth and employment as benefits of trading.
On behalf of GIZ Nigeria, the Head of Component, Bernard Taryoh, recognized the extraordinary importance participants attached to the training as well as reaffirmed the commitment of his organization to continue the close partnership with ECOWAS in the area capacity building.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Journalist Ophaniel Gooding of Sierra Leone thanked ECOWAS and GIZ for the training and pledged participants are going to use the knowledge wisely for the benefit of the entire ECOWAS sub-region.
Mr. Gooding said “this has been an eye-opener for us. It has been a very valuable opportunity and we are going to take back home the knowledge and experience gained here in order to make a change because what’s really important here is to make a change in Africa”.
Meanwhile, the journalists have created of a network which they are expected to collaborate in conducting investigations and engaging local leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders to ensure ETLS and all trade facilitation agreements of ECOWAS are adhered to.