Thursday, February 9

ECOWAS Education Science and Culture commissioner meets Minister Bah

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The team, led by Dr. Mamadou, was on a 6-day working visit to The Gambia.

The delegation was accompanied by top officials of National Centre for Arts and Culture with discussion centered on ratification of the UNESCO Convention 1970 on illicit import and export of heritage goods, The Gambia hosting of 3rd edition of the ECOWAS Culture of Piece Forum; Seeking ECOWAS support on revamping Root International Festival.

Addressing the delegation, Hamat NK Bah, minister of Tourism and Culture, assured the delegates that the 1970 Convention shall be ratified soon without delay.

On hosting of the 3rd edition of the ECOWAS Culture of Piece Forum in The Gambia, he said his ministry has given it a blessing.

However, he assured them of The Gambia’s support wherever it is held, saying, “it will be a good opportunity for us to use our expertise to see how best to bring people together because of the principal objectives of ECOWAS in 1975, which is to bring peace and harmony among its citizens.”

He noted that it will be a “good thing for us (The Gambia) to wait for another one and we hope that when we get it organised, we can make a difference.”

Honorable Bah reiterated the view of the permanent secretary concerning ECOWAS support to the celebration of the Roots International Festival, saying his ministry wants to make it a revamp new Roots International Festival that will be valued for money.

Over the years, he said, Root Festival was not properly done. “It was done probably to raise and spend money but the value was not there, but now we are ready to invite, expand to involve private sector participation and other groups.”

“Therefore we will need your (ECOWAS) support, government has provided parts of the money but also we want ECOWAS to come in, too,” Minister Bah informed Commissioner Traore and team.

Kodou L Jabang-Senghore, permanent secretary at Ministry of Tourism and Culture, informed the delegation that The Gambia cultural policy has been reviewed, updated and already rolled out for implementation, while confirming that the ratification of the Charter for African Culture Renaissance as well as the 2001 Convention on protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage have been approved by the Cabinet.

“So the ratification is on progress and of course when it is finalised, we will bring it to your attention through NCAC.”

Dr. Mamadou Traore, ECOWAS Commissioner on Education, Science and Culture, thanked the minister and team for the hospitality accorded to them during the period of their stay in the country.

He disclosed the purpose of their mission, saying it came after the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS adopted on December 21, 2019 the 2019-2023 ECOWAS Action Plan on the return of African cultural heritage to their countries of origin, as well as the Regional Cultural Policy and its Action Plan.

The ECOWAS Country Representative in The Gambia, Ambassador Vabah Gayflor, reassured the ministry of her office support, saying whatever is discussed here, there is going to be a follow up.

Dr. Zida Emile, culture officer, ECOWAS, Professor Abdoulaye Maga, director ECOWAS Culture, Mr. Hassoum Ceesay, director general of National Centre for Arts and Culture all made remarks at the meeting.