• As conference on youth empowerment holds in May


From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it has released $9 million in the ongoing year to be expended on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees, asylum seekers and  for the communities that welcome them.

This was even as it 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 four million people for an amount of $12.6 million.

ECOWAS Commissioner in Charge of Human Development and Social Affairs, Professor Fatou Sow Sarr, made the disclosure while briefing journalists in Abuja.

Sow said: “ECOWAS has released nine 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).”

Sow also said out of a fund of 25 million dollars intended for the fight against terrorism in Nigeria, Burkina, Mali and Niger, ECOWAS has reserved four million dollars for humanitarian actions.

While saying that ECOWAS emphasized prevention, Sow stated that ECOWAS has 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.

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Earlier, Sow said humanitarian actions constituted an important concern to ECOWAS because of multiple crises and population displacements to which the sub-region must add climate change and natural disasters.

She added that whatever the situation, even in the event of sanctions, ECOWAS humanitarian actions never stop.

She explained that Guinea, which is 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.

“ECOWAS puts significant resources into the humanitarian sector for displaced people, migration, floods and various forms of disaster,” Sow also said.

Speaking on youth productivity in the sub-region, Sow disclosed that a youth conference will be organized from May 2024 to take stock of the current situation, identify the changes and ruptures which have led to the general malaise observed in the sub-region.

“Consultations will be organized in member countries by bringing together young people concerned in their geographic, social and socio-professional diversity.

These meetings will be extended by webinars to reach a larger number of people, television shows and radio debates will allow populations in each country to know that ECOWAS is looking into youth problems.

At the end of the process, the ECOWAS meetings will be organized in a member country, allowing the regional organization to review its policy, strategy and roadmap accordingly,” Sow further said.