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Regional Organizations Help Guide African Development


Regional economic groupings are playing an increasing role in the allocation of development aid. William Awinador-Kanyirige is an official at the Commission for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He told Voice of America English to Africa reporter Joana Mantey in Accra, Ghana, that development partners sometimes channel money for regional projects through the organization.

ECOWAS helps member countries coordinate their policies on security and regional development. It also helps mobilize resources to implement the policies.

Awinador-Kanyi says, "Under peace and security you are talking about activities that relate to the prevention of conflict. If there is conflict in any member state, ECOWAS can quickly mobilize relevant resources to address that conflict. More important is the development of capacity to prevent the conflict through the promotion of good governance and democracy by way of elections."

ECOWAS plays other roles in infrastructural development. It has invested in projects such as road networks, railways and an electric power pool system in the sub-region.

"It is not too difficult for us to mobilize funds because ECOWAS is seen as a model of regional economic integration. It has a lot of goodwill from donor partners," Awinador-Kanyirige said.

He added that a mechanism has been put into place to ensure transparency in the use of donor funds. "We are also accountable to each other so the arrangement is quite transparent."