MRU strategic plan

 

MANO RIVER UNION
UNION DU FLEUVE MANO

 

  MANO RIVER UNION (MRU) SECRETARIAT

 

STRATEGIC PLAN 2010-2020

 

Vision: Ensure the establishment of a peaceful, stable and prosperous sub region.

 

 

——— DECEMBER 2011, Freetown, Sierra Leone ———

 

 

Table of Contents

 

List of Figures. iii

Acronyms. iv

Foreword. v

Preface. vi

Acknowledgements. vii

SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION.. 1

1.1 About the plan. 1

1.2 The MRU: Legal and Institutional framework. 4

1.2.1 Background. 4

1.2.2 Aims and Objectives of the Union. 4

1.2.3 The Institutions of the Mano River Union and their Functions. 5

1.3 The context 7

1.3.1 Challenges and opportunities of sub-regional integration and value addition of MRU   7

1.3.2 Development context in the MRU: challenges and opportunities. 9

1.3.2.1 Current Challenges Facing the Sub-region. 9

1.3.2.2 Inherent Opportunities/Potentials of the Sub-region. 12

SECTION 2: REVIEW OF PAST PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES                                    13

2.1        Review of Previous Work. 13

2.2        Past Projects/Programmes of the Union. 13

2.3 Immediate Post Conflict /Pre-Strategic Plan Period. 14

2.3 Challenges in implementing past programmes. 16

SECTION 3: STRATEGIC FOCUS OF 10-YEAR ACTION PLAN.. 17

Strategy for addressing the development challenges. 17

3.1 The MRU Secretariat’s Focus. 17

SECTION 4: IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND REPORTING.. 32

4.1 Implementation Arrangements. 32

4.3 Guiding Principles for implementation of strategic plan. 33

4.4        Monitoring and Evaluation. 34

SECTION 5: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS. 35

5.1 CONCLUSIONS  35

5.2 RECOMMENDATIONS. 35

ANNEXES                                                                                                                                  376

Annex I: Socio-economic Indicators in MRU countries                                                    377

Annex II: A map of the sub-region showing the growth triangles                                 398

Annex III: Matrix of ongoing and planned projects and programmes                          39

Annex IVa: Implementation Plan for the MRU Strategic Plan for 2012                        46

Annex IVb: Implementation Plan for the MRU Strategic Plan  for 2013.

Annex IVc: Implementation Plan for the MRU Strategic Plan 2014

Bibliography. 64

List of Figures

Figure 1: Adult Literacy and life expectancy at birth in MRU countries in 2010. 11

Figure 2: Poverty levels and annual GDP growth rates in MRU countries in 2009. 11

Figure 3:  Access to safe drinking water and sanitation in MRU Countries. 11

Figure 4: MRU Strategic Plan Pillars. 18

Figure 5: Location of Sub-Regional Mining Infrastructure cluster opportunities. 25

 

 

Acronyms   +

 

ACBF               Africa Capacity Building Foundation
AfDB African Development Bank
AU African Union
WECARD/CORAF West and central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development
DECLARATION            Declaration of the Mano River Union
DSG     Deputy Secretary General
ECA     Economic Commission for Africa
ECOWAS         Economic Community of West African States
EU European Union
FAO     Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
GDP                 Gross Domestic Product
GIMPA            Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration
ILO                   International Labour Organization
JICA Japan International Cooperation Agency
MRU                Mano River Union
NGO                Non Governmental Organization
PMU                Project Management Unit
SG                    Secretary General
UMC    Union Ministerial Council
UN       United Nations System
UNDP              United Nations Development Programme
UNFPA            United Nations Fund for Population Activities
UNIDO             United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNOWA          United Nations Office for West Africa
USAID  United States Agency for International Development
US        Union Secretariat
UTC Union Technical Commissions
WB                  World Bank
WFP                World Food Programme
WHO World Health Organization
YEN Youth Employment Network

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreword

 

O

n behalf of the leadership of the Union, I must say that the preparation of this strategic action plan is a step in the right direction. The countries of the Union, especially Liberia and Sierra Leone, have gone through years of turmoil with devastating consequences. The La Cote D’Ivoire’s post elections conflict has left social, political and economic scars that will take time, fortitude and national resolve and reconciliation to address.  Today, the visible and yet undesirable scars left by the wars are evident everywhere. Particularly visible are the plight and deprivation of the majority. This is even more glaring for the youth who are not only unemployed but have no skills to secure jobs or engage in productive endeavours. The economies are shattered and require resuscitation. Basic social services are limited and in many cases unaffordable. The infrastructure is very poor, with the countries in the sub region faring low on the Africa infrastructure index, thus posing serious challenges to free movement, trade and overall pursuit of development within the sub region. Additionally, the debt burden is limiting the ability of countries to secure needed support from the international community.

 

This plan sets the context in which the Member States find themselves, the daunting challenges they face, and the framework within which common problems can be addressed with a view to ensuring peace and stability, socio-economic development and integration in the interest of the peoples of the Union.

 

While it is not possible to adequately address the daunting challenges during the plan period, the strategic areas selected for project and programme formulation and implementation if effectively pursued, will provide the platform for sustained development and integration thus meaningfully contributing to poverty reduction and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

 

We implore the Secretariat to take full advantage of the opportunities nationally and internationally available to ensure the effective and efficient pursuance of the objectives of the plan in the interest and the well-being of our citizens.

 

On behalf of my colleagues, I want to extend sincere thanks to the Secretariat and all partners who have supported the preparation of this plan. It is my hope that the desired support from our partners will be secured not only for the formulation of the projects/programmes but for their full implementation.

 

May God guide and bless the work of our hands and save our common heritage.

 

 

Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

President of the Republic of Liberia and

Chairperson of the MRU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preface

A

 strategic plan provides a concrete road map for the conduct of activities geared towards the attainment of stated objectives of an institution or organization. For the Mano River Union, pursuing the objectives of this three-year strategic plan is vital for setting the desired platform for sustainable development in the Mano River basin taking into consideration the post conflict setting and the challenges the sub-region faces.

 

Between 1989 and 2003, Liberia and Sierra Leone went through very devastating civil conflicts leaving in their aftermath shattered political, governance and social systems and facilities; economies, and infrastructure at all levels. Poverty, which was a serious challenge for the countries, was magnified and entrenched thus posing further threat to peace and security recognizing the level of involvement of youth in the conflicts, and who now have nothing to fall back on for sustained survival. 

 

In Côte d’Ivoire, although the civil conflict was not as devastating as those in Liberia and Sierra Leone, it has further polarized the country, caused setbacks to national development and now poses governance challenges with consequences on peace and stability for the sub-region.

 

Although Guinea was able to contain and prevent a rebel incursion, the country has had to cope with serious influx of refugees from all three countries putting stress on already inadequate facilities required for daily survival especially within the host communities.

 

This plan provides an analysis of the situation in the sub-region, outlining critical development challenges that need to be addressed and mapping out priority areas of focus which when addressed will create the desired environment for the promotion and sustenance of peace, socio-economic development and economic integration.

 

In the implementation framework of this plan, I as Secretary-General would like to emphasize on the need for efficiency, effectiveness and visibility, as well as the forging of the right partnerships to enable us achieve the Union’s noble objectives. These are my mandate and ambition.

 

I ask for the support of all as we take on these important challenges.

 

 

Haja Dr. Saran Daraba Kaba

Secretary General

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

O

n behalf of the Secretariat, I would like to first and foremost extend our deep appreciation and gratitude to the Leaders of the Union for their foresight, dedication and commitment not only for ensuring the survival of the Union under very trying circumstances, but their guidance and support which made it possible for us to prepare such a short to medium-term strategic plan.

 

To the Ministers directly responsible for the affairs of the Union in the Member States, as well as those who have played key roles in technical and thematic meetings geared towards providing desired direction for the activities of the Union, we express very sincere thanks for your unwavering commitment, support and sacrifices.

 

To our partners, especially those that have contributed to the preparation of this plan, we extend our sincere thanks and gratitude for believing in our vision and sharing our burden. We hope that the partnership will be sustained and strengthened.

 

To our in-house advisers, professionals and support staff of the Secretariat we extend out thanks and appreciation for your devotion to duty in the cause of the Union.

 

 

 

SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 About the plan

 

T

he Mano River Union three-year Strategic Plan is being prepared at a critical period in the life of the Secretariat and the Member States. The sub region has gone through a protracted period of conflict with negative consequences on the political, social and economic structures and systems. Development has been strangled and poverty is entrenched. Under such conditions, security is a serious challenge because hungry populations are angry populations with such anger having the propensity to result in violence. Full restoration and sustenance of peace, security and stability is fundamental to laying the true and solid foundation for sustainable socio-economic growth and development. Africa as a whole has been making progress in economic growth albeit rather slowly in the last three years even in the face of the global financial, food and fuel crises.

 

Over the years, increased economic growth and progress in Africa and especially among MRU Member States has not translated into improved quality of life for the vast majority of the population in these countries. This highlights the importance of instituting and practicing good governance so as to create the enabling environment for accelerated poverty reducing economic growth.

 

In a world experiencing increasing globalization, working in silos as a single country breeds a host of challenges. This justifies the original mandate of the MRU–to enhance sub-regional cooperation in promoting economic integration. With recent political, social, economic and security developments in the sub-region, strategic and innovative interventions are required for the achievement of sub-regional socio-economic development and integration.

 

The MRU States collectively are richly endowed with huge natural resources with deposits of minerals contributing greatly to such endowments. The sustainable exploitation of these natural resources and in particular value addition will enhance economic development in the sub-region. This will also create job opportunities for populations within the Union. With a visionary, well-capacitated Secretariat to coordinate these activities, the potential for sub-regional economic integration is immense.

 

With this background, the MRU Secretariat prepared this three year strategic plan to be implemented in collaboration with relevant institutions and partners in Member States. The overriding principle in the implementation of the plan is the adoption of the “growth triangles/growth areas” concept[1] by which all activities (economic, peace and security, and social development) implemented through the Secretariat will cover more than one of the MRU Member States. In particular, activities within border regions[2] – areas often most disadvantaged due to lack of development and prone to illegal activities that act as a major source for conflict – will receive prominence in plan implementation. These regions are often far from the “centers of power”—receiving less attention, but remain significant and strategic in ensuring economic integration and maintaining peace and security within the sub-region.

 

The added-value of the MRU through the implementation of this strategic action plan will be the:

  1. Adoption of a sub-regional approach in ensuring the maintenance of peace and security within the sub-region;
  2. Implementation of the growth triangle concept in selected growth areas around border regions of Member States; and
  3. Serving as an implementing arm for selected ECOWAS programmes in the four countries[3].

 

To achieve the MRU goals of economic integration, ensuring socio-economic development and maintaining peace and security within the sub-region, this plan provides the strategic direction and framework to guide the MRU Secretariat’s operations and support activities over the next three years and beyond. It capitalizes on emerging opportunities from peace dividends enjoyed by Member States. Integrated strategic planning is not new to the MRU Secretariat; however, the Secretariat’s programme implementation has suffered as a result of protracted civil conflict and political unrest in Member States. The plan, therefore, aims to build on the Secretariat’s successes before the eruption of conflict in the sub-region and on strategic activities implemented in the recent past.

 

This strategic plan will not only serve as a key development and integration instrument for the next three years but will position the MRU Secretariat in defining and realizing the Secretariat’s longer-term contribution to economic integration in the sub-region. The plan aligns the Secretariat’s activities to Member States poverty reduction strategies with a fundamental goal of poverty reduction. It indicates how the Secretariat intends to direct and execute its activities to ensure maximum contribution to economic growth, economic integration, and sustaining peace and security within and among Member States. The plan also aims to strengthen the Secretariat’s institutional effectiveness in readiness for playing the coordination role for sub-regional economic integration.[4]

 

The plan has been prepared over a period of two years. The draft strategic plan was formally accepted at the 24th April 2010 Summit in Conakry, Guinea. Upon acceptance, the plan was reviewed by representatives of Member States, development partners, civil society organizations and members of the press in Monrovia from 1-3 November 2010. The review meeting in Monrovia provided valuable comments and recommendations. Also at the Monrovia review meeting, a study supported by UNDP-Liberia at the request of this country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs on exploring the possible adaptation of the “growth triangle/growth area” concept in the MRU was presented. Through this meeting, comments and recommendations on the draft plan and findings of the growth triangle/growth area study were decided to be integrated in finalizing the MRU strategic action plan. The UNDP regional office in Dakar, Senegal recruited a consultant to support the MRU Secretariat in finalizing the strategic action plan and to prepare a promotional plan for the strategy. The draft plan was presented to the Union Ministerial Council (UMC) and Summit of heads of State and Government in July 2011 in Monrovia and endorsed with the recommendation that a three-year strategic plan be prepared and costed for implementation. This plan is now geared towards fulfilling that mandate.

 

Accordingly, the strategic plan is organized as follows:

 

  • Section I continues from the introduction to the presentation of the MRU legal and institutional framework. This includes the background to the formation of the Union, its aims and objectives, and the various institutions and their functions. This section further highlights the major challenges and opportunities facing the MRU and the strategy for addressing the challenges as well as outlining the value addition of the MRU. The challenges and opportunities in the development context of Member States are also outlined.

 

  • Section II reviews past work of the MRU highlighting important initiatives taken in the past, including successes and failures, and presents the status of ongoing projects and programmes. Included in the review is the MRU’s work in the areas of post and telecommunications, forestry, customs and excise, infrastructure development (Mano River bridge, Air Mano, roads, etc.), maritime, Union Glass Factory, provision of small mills, scholarship programmes, and research and studies.

 

  • Section III describes the operational priorities of the MRU three-year strategic plan. This section outlines the strategic pillars of the three-year strategic plan, including each pillar’s objectives and the strategies to be adopted to achieve them.

 

  • Section IV presents the implementation strategy for the plan and describes the monitoring and reporting framework for the plan including the need and importance of partnerships.
  • Section V concludes the plan by highlighting some key conclusions including the state in which the MRU will be following the three-year implementation period, and recommendations that should support the full implementation of the three-year strategic plan.

 

  • Annexes to the strategic plan further detail ongoing and planned projects and programmes and an implementation plan for the MRU Secretariat’s activities for the plan period with detailed costing.

 

 

 

1.2 The MRU: Legal and Institutional framework

1.2.1 Background

Through the visionary leadership of His Excellency Siaka P. Stevens, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and His Excellency William R. Tolbert, Jr. President of the Republic of Liberia, the Mano River Union (MRU) was established on October 3, 1973 through a DECLARATION signed by the two Presidents in Malema Town in Pujehun District, Sierra Leone. The Declaration took into consideration the need to establish a firm foundation for lasting peace, friendship, freedom and social progress, as well as advancement of economic growth and cultural advancement through collaboration between the two countries within the framework of a Customs Union. The then People’s Revolutionary Republic of Guinea joined the Union on 25 October 1980, transforming the Union into a three-country instrument for multi-lateral cooperation for sustainable development. The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, which indicated interest in joining the Union and had been attending Union meetings as an observer since 2004, formally acceded to the Union on 15 May 2008.

 

1.2.2 Aims and Objectives of the Union

 

The aims and objectives of the Union are to:

  • the expansion of international Expand trade by the elimination of all barriers to mutual trade; by cooperation in trade; by the creation of conditions favorable to an expansion of mutual productive capacity, including the progressive development of a common protective policy and cooperation in the creation of new productive capacity; 
  • Secure a fair distribution of the benefits from economic cooperation;
  • The aims and objectives were expanded through the fourth protocol (1980) to incorporate areas of economic activity particularly in commerce, industry, transport and communications, agriculture, natural resources, financial and monetary matters.

 

The first steps in pursuance of these objectives were:                                                         

  • Liberalization of mutual trade in goods of local origin, through the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to such trade;
  • Harmonization of rates of import duties and other fiscal incentives applicable to goods of local origin, in order to ensure fair trading conditions and a harmonized  protective policy for local producers; and
  • Supporting measures, as necessary, for developing cooperation in the production of agricultural and manufactured products of local origin.

 

1.2.3 The Institutions of the Mano River Union and their Functions

 

In furtherance of the objectives of the Union, the following institutions were established:

  • The Union Summit of Heads of State and Government which is the supreme institution of the Union;
  • The Union Ministerial Council;
  • The Union Technical Commissions;
  • The Union Secretariat; and
  • Such other organizations, bodies, departments and services as are provided for by the Mano River Declaration and its protocols as amended or by resolutions of the Union Ministerial Council. 

 

The Union Summit of Heads of State and Government

The Union Summit of Heads of State and Government is the supreme institution of the Union. The Summit shall convene as and when deemed necessary to deal with matters submitted to it by the Union Ministerial Council.

 

The Union Ministerial Council

The Union Ministerial Council comprises Ministers responsible for Planning, Development, Economic Cooperation, Finance, Education, Trade, Industry, Agriculture, Transport, Communications, Energy, Natural Resources and Works in the Member States. Other Ministers of Member States may attend Meetings of the Council when matters of interest to them are on the agenda. The Union Ministerial Council shall:

  • Ensure the proper functioning and development of the Union in conformity with the provisions of the Mano River Declaration and its Protocols as amended;
  • Give directives to all subordinate institutions of the Union through the Secretariat so as to ensure the efficient and harmonious working of the Union;
  • Make recommendations to the Union Summit of Heads of State and Government on matters of policy designed to effect the efficient and harmonious functioning and development of the Union;
  • Establish financial policies, procedures, rules and regulations which shall govern the handling of the finances of the Union including but not limited to budget procedures, expenditures and arrangements for auditing;
  • Consider and approve the Annual Budget of the Union including but not limited to the Union Training and Research Establishments and to determine the contributions of each Member State thereto;
  • Authorize the Secretariat or any other subordinate institution to negotiate in all areas of cooperation with Member States, third countries and international organizations or institutions with the view to implementing the aims and objectives of the Mano River Union; and
  • Execute such other functions as the Union Summit of Heads of State and Government may from time to time direct.

 

The Union Ministerial Council shall be headed by a Chairman and three Vice Chairpersons who will be elected on a rotational basis so that each country has the same chance to assume leadership. The Council shall hold its Ordinary Session once a year. On the decision of the Chairman and in consultation with the Vice Chairpersons and the Secretary General, Special Sessions will be convened as and when necessary.

 

The decisions of the Union Ministerial Council shall be by consensus and such decisions shall be resolutions which:

  • Make recommendations to the Union Summit of Heads of State and Government;
  • Make recommendations to Member States for certain actions to be taken;
  • Give directives to the Secretariat and other subordinate Institutions.

 

Technical Commissions of the Union

Technical Commissions were proposed to be established with responsibilities in the respective areas/sectors below:

  • Trade and Industry;
  • Agriculture, Forestry and fisheries;
  • Transport and communications;
  • Education, Training and Research;
  • Finance and administration; and
  • Energy and Natural Resources.

 

The Commissions shall comprise Officials of Governments and Professionals designated by the Member States. They will examine issues relative to their respective fields on their initiative, upon directive of the Union Ministerial Council or at the request of the Secretary General. The Commissions shall meet at least once a year but may hold Special meetings as and when necessary based on the outcome of technical consultations or requests from Member States.

 

The signing of the Fifteenth Protocol on Defense, Security, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs on 9 May 2000 which provided for the establishment of a Joint Security Committee now requires the establishment of a Commission on Peace and Security.

 

The Mano River Union Secretariat

The Union Secretariat is the technical and administrative instrument through which the Union pursues its noble objectives. The Secretariat, in collaboration with the institutions of the Union and with support from donors and development partners, prepares strategic plans for the Union; oversee the formulation of projects and programmes in support of the plan as well as their implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on activities undertaken; plans for and facilitate the holding of meetings of the institutions of the Union; approve projects and programmes in support of the objectives of the Union; represent the Union at various fora geared towards the political, social and economic development of the sub-region; and mobilizes resources in support of projects and programmes for the Union.

 

The Secretariat is headed by a Secretary General (the Principal Executive officer of the MRU) supported by three Deputies who are nominated and appointed by their respective Heads of State and Government to serve for four years with possibility to serve a second term based on recommendation from the Union Ministerial Council. The Secretary General shall be a national of a Member State other than that in which the Headquarters is located while the Deputies shall be national of Member States other than that of the Secretary General. One of the Deputies shall serve as the Budget and Finance Comptroller as well as oversee administrative matters while the other two Deputies will manage the programme areas of the Union. This is to ensure equitable distribution of statutory posts to Member States.

 

At the professional level, Programme Officers (one from each country) will be recruited by the Secretary General on a competitive basis to head various programme areas. A Finance and Administrative Officer will be recruited to support the work of the Budget and Financial Comptroller. Required professional, technical and administrative staff will be recruited to support the work of the Secretariat. The appointment and recruitment processes to fill the various positions approved by the Summit in May 2008 in Monrovia were completed in 2009 to enable the Secretariat to have basic capacity to effectively deliver on its mandate.

 

Ad Hoc Committees and Working groups comprising of Government Officials and Professional from Member States, shall be instituted by the Secretary General as and when necessary to address various concerns of the Union. Liaison Officers shall be appointed by Member States upon the request of the Union Ministerial Council in respect of specific projects and programmes and shall cooperate with the Secretariat in the execution of mandates given them.

 

The Secretariat shall establish Sub-Offices in the Member States of Liberia, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire to effectively support the work of the Secretariat. The Sub-Offices will be manned by Coordinators and supported by Administrative Assistants and drivers all of whom will be recruited on competitive basis.

 

1.3 The context

1.3.1 Challenges and opportunities of sub-regional integration and value addition of MRU

The importance and relevance of the MRU in light of other regional organizations require deep reflection and strategic direction to show how it adds value to the economic development of the Union. Even though the MRU existed before the formation of ECOWAS, which holds similar objectives, the dominance of the latter in regional integration in the past decades, especially when the sub region was in conflict, is widely noted. In this context, this sub-section describes the specific value that MRU will add in ensuring regional integration in the sub-region that enhances further regional integration at the West Africa level. Apart from ECOWAS, other notable bodies in the sub-region and across the continent of Africa working on similar issues of economic integration include the African Union, African Development Bank, New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), Economic Commission of Africa (ECA), United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), South African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC). All these organizations offer different programmes and support to individual countries with the aim of ensuring economic integration and maintaining peace and security. Also, with the exception of ECOWAS covering 15 countries, the other organizations work on continent-wide economic integration – a wide-spanning focus that does not guarantee specific attention on MRU countries.

 

The special niche of the MRU lies in the characteristics of the four countries that constitute the Union. The history, socio-cultural and economic ties, the common development challenges, and the need for collaboration in fostering such ties and addressing these challenges, inspired the founding fathers of Sierra Leone and Liberia to form the MRU. The joining of Guinea and later Cote d’Ivoire to the Union justified the rationale for the establishment of the Union. The civil conflicts and their effects in the sub-region seriously tested the resolve and commitment of the Member States and their leadership to the survival of the Union. The continued existence of the Union and current strides for its revival so as to more meaningfully contribute to the recovery, growth and development of the Member States clearly demonstrates the value attached to it by Member States.

 

The establishment of the MRU, the near collapse of the Union as a result of protracted conflict in Member States and current efforts to revitalize the MRU are justified by the need for peace and security and economic development in the sub-region. The following considerations or factors underscore the continued validity of the MRU:

 

  • Awareness and realization of the fact that the efforts required for economic take-off, sustaining peace and security, and ensuring socio-economic development in the sub-region are so intertwined that they cannot be left to independent national efforts.

 

  • Most of the countries of the MRU independently possess small markets which can lead to disproportional benefits from globalization compared to the medium size combined market (about 42 million inhabitants in the sub region) that can be created as a result of sub-regional integration.

 

  • Also, capacities (financial as well as human) in the individual countries are limited and have been negatively affected by conflict in the sub-region. Pooling human and financial resources from the four countries will ensure improved and sustained results.

 

  • Finally, additional growth opportunities could be unlocked through the application of the growth triangle/growth area concept to the exploitation and management of important share of the rich natural resource endowments and complimentary resources in the MRU and trans-boundary development challenges.

 

In summary, the value that will be added by the MRU through implementation of this initial post conflict three-year strategic plan will be the maintenance of peace and security in the sub-region, implementing the growth triangle/growth area approach, and acting as an implementing arm of the ECOWAS.[5]

 

With the points above, the need for an organization or coordinating body to ensure the implementation of programmes and projects among the four countries in the sub-region is apparent. The harnessing and sustainable use and management of the natural endowments of the sub-region require a sub-region approach which can only be led by the MRU with the ECOWAS providing desired regional direction, leadership and support. ECOWAS is strong, large and plays a significant role in economic integration, maintaining peace and security in West Africa. But it also covers 15 countries and can thus be over-stretched at times. MRU can therefore serve as an implementing arm for ECOWAS with regards to the four countries without duplicating efforts.

1.3.2 Development context in the MRU: challenges and opportunities

 

1.3.2.1 Current Challenges Facing the Sub-region

 

The development challenges facing the Member States of the MRU, although varying in extent and magnitude, are manifested by the following:

    • Political: Centralization of power and poor quality of governance; marginalization of the majority and their lack of participation in national affairs with women, disadvantaged groups and youth being the most affected; legal system at the disadvantage of the less privileged and human rights abuses.
    • Economic: Ineffective economic laws, policies, structures and systems; unattractive investment climate; limited opportunities for self development and advancement; poor quality of labor force; unemployment; low incomes; entrenched corruption and poor living standards; limited trade/commerce systems and structures in countries and within the sub-region.
    • Social: Poor health infrastructure and ineffective health delivery systems; prevalence of infectious and communicable diseases which take a large toll on the populations; low access to and quality of education; limited access to safe drinking water for the majority.
    • Infrastructure: Air, sea and land transport infrastructure poor and many areas in the respective countries not accessible including difficulty in moving from one country to the other; Communications infrastructure inadequate and access limited to a few. Access and affordability of energy and power to the populations is still a serious challenge in the sub-region although the natural potential is great. This also poses serious challenges to national and sub-regional development.
    • Security: The conflicts in the sub-region have had negative effects on peace and security. The sub-region is now considered insecure and the peace is fragile. Building and sustaining peace is vital.
    • Debt burden: These countries are faced with unsustainable debt burdens that are counterproductive to the pursuance of national and sub-regional development objectives.[6]

 

The protracted civil conflicts in the sub-region devastated every sector of the economies of Liberia and Sierra Leone with spillover effects in Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire. The pervasive poverty was compounded by increased levels of illiteracy and ignorance. Additionally, maternal and child mortality have shown drastic increases due to destruction and neglect of required social facilities and services. The fragile security environment has negatively impacted foreign direct investment thus hampering the speed of recovery, rehabilitation and development. Education, maternal and child health in particular has seen major investments in the last years following countries’ strive to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Recent statistics begin to show improvements in these indicators. Also investment, especially in the mineral sectors of Member States is beginning to show some improvements.

 

During the conflict years, the youth were particularly disadvantaged especially as they were used not only as instruments of war but were also denied education and skills to demand work or be self employed. Taking into consideration that they are now adults and responsible for families, failure to provide them with job opportunities is a recipe for renewed disaster in the sub-region. An added effect of the conflicts is increased criminality as manifested by the proliferation and trade in small arms and light weapons, drugs and child trafficking, smuggling and sexual and gender-based violence. The overall impact is that the states of the sub-region, except for Cote d’Ivoire, are now the least developed and therefore rank among the low human development countries according to the UN Human Development reports.

 

The figures below[7] provide indicators on parameters which demonstrate the daunting development challenges facing the sub-region, as well as buttress the nature and magnitude of poverty in the Member States.

 

Figure 1: Adult Literacy and life expectancy at birth in MRU countries in 2010

   

 

           

 

 

 

Figure 2: Poverty levels and annual GDP growth rates in MRU countries in 2009

      

 

 

   

Figure 3: : Access to safe drinking water and sanitation in MRU Countries

 

 

 

 

The sub-region faces challenges related to the restoration of democratic governance, restoring and sustaining peace and security, the pursuit of economic and social development to reduce poverty and contribute to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The global increase in food prices in 2008 as well as the increases in the price of crude oil further constrains the resource capacities of the countries (importers of these vital commodities) to effectively pursue their development aspirations.

 

1.3.2.2 Inherent Opportunities/Potentials of the Sub-region

 

Even in the face of the above daunting challenges, the sub-region has inherent natural potential which if developed and harnessed properly can bring about the desired socio-economic development that contributes to the well-being and welfare of the citizens on a sustainable basis. Prominent among these opportunities are:

 

  • The sub-region has about 42 million persons with youth and children constituting between 50-60 percent of the population. With their latent potential and the possibility to serve as future leaders, they have the capacity to bring about positive transformation of their communities and society at large. Developing youth potential is critical to such transformation.

 

  • The sub-region is blessed with significant natural resource endowments comprising minerals including iron ore, diamonds, gold and bauxite; untapped oil deposits; forests with associated biodiversity of national and global value; abundant water resources with high energy potential that would support development in all sectors and their sources serving as bedrock for rivers serving the West African region; and large hectares of productive soils. These natural resources cross national boundaries and are found in clusters traversing two or three countries in the sub-region. These endowments make the sub-region a fertile ground for foreign direct investment once good governance prevails with associated laws and procedures to attract such investment.

 

  • The Member States’ strong cultural, tribal/ethnic, traditional and economic ties predate their existence as nation-states – characteristics that need to be formalized and strengthened so as to more meaningfully contribute to the overall development and integration of the sub-region.

 

  • The nature, spread and impact of civil conflicts in the sub-region clearly show that security cannot be considered as a problem that should be tackled at the national level alone. Insecurity has become more of a sub-regional matter and should be addressed within that framework. Cote d’Ivoire’s accession to the Union was primarily prompted by security considerations.

SECTION II: REVIEW OF PAST PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES

 

2.1       Review of Previous Work

F

rom the creation of the MRU and its implementation arm, the Secretariat, up to the eruption of conflict in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the Union’s founding countries, implemented programmes included those in manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, customs and excise, research and scholarship promotion. Notable among these were the Union Glass factory, preliminary work on Air Mano to ease air transportation among Member States, road construction, building of the Mano River Bridge, provision of small mills to support increased agricultural productivity in the oil palm sub sector, provision of scholarships to students, and conducting new research and studies.

 

2.2       Past Projects/Programmes of the Union

 

In pursuance of the objectives of the Union, the Secretariat embarked on the design and implementation of programmes in the areas of Posts and Telecommunications, Forestry, Customs and Excise, and Maritime. Institutions were established in these areas to support capacity building in the respective sectors, laid the basis for the harmonization of programmes and policies, facilitated communications and trade, as well as provided required direction for the sustainable exploitation and utilization of the natural resources.

 

The Union also provided scholarships to nationals to attend universities in Member States with a view to building capacity particularly in the public sector. This helped to enhance public sector performance in the Member States. Additionally, the Mano River Bridge linking Liberia and Sierra Leone was constructed and commissioned in 1976.

 

The Union further embarked on other important initiatives such as establishing industries (including the Union Glass Factory to produce bottles for Member States) to take full advantage of the natural resource potential and comparative advantage of Member States; laid the groundwork for the establishment of an airline (Air Mano) and sea links to facilitate travel between the Member States as well as in the West Africa sub-region; embarked on the provision of small mills to help expand production and processing of oil palm; constructed roads to facilitate movement of people as well as trade in response to the establishment of a Trans-African Highway; and conducted studies to sustainably ensure the provision of energy and power to the Member states.

 

Unfortunately, all these programmes and projects as well as new initiatives were either disrupted or significantly impacted by the civil conflicts. One of the most successful programmes of the MRU, the Union Glass Factory is no longer operational. All scholarship programmes have been halted. And in the-post conflict phase of the MRU countries, few programmes in the areas of HIV/AIDs, youth employment were implemented. A Mano River rice Programme is under implementation while programme formulation in the areas of water resources management and forest conservation are ongoing. Therefore, revitalization of the MRU and its Secretariat through the implementation of this plan is a step in the right direction.

2.3 Immediate Post Conflict /Pre-Strategic Plan Period

 

Social Development

 

With the difficult health situation, especially with regards to the spread of HIV/AIDS around border areas, a US$25 million programme on HIV/AIDS/STI was designed in 2004 for implementation in the border areas with focus on nine sites and submitted for funding under the Global Fund. Although the funding was not secured, the AfDB provided seed money (5 million UA) to implement a pilot phase under a three year period. The main components of the programme were:

  • Strengthening of HIV/AIDS/STI prevention, control and treatment;
  • Promotion of multi-sectoral and sub-regional coordination of HIV/AIDS/STI activities; and
  • Project management.

 

Programme Objectives were:

  • To help the sub-region meet goal six of the MDGs – to stop and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS; and
  • To specifically prevent the spread of new infections of HIV/AIDS/STI among refugees, internally displaced populations and their host communities.

 

The results attained as compiled in the final programme report and the report of the impact study conducted has been assessed by the AfDB to be one of the few sub-regional success stories. Beneficiary communities desired a continuation of the support as well as extension of its coverage. During the plan period, support will be secured to formulate and implement a second programme phase.

 

An economic programme was designed to help address the problem of unemployment relative to youth in the sub-region taking into consideration the war effects on the economies of Member States and the potential threat youth pose to peace and security especially noting their participation in the conflicts.

 

The target group includes:

  • Marginalized, poor urban and rural youth;
  • Youth who wish to start up a business or to become employed or improve community productivity;
  • Youth who already own a business and wish to expand.

 

The programme’s immediate objectives are to:

  • Support the engagement of the target group in productive and decent work in both urban and rural areas;
  • Create opportunities for productive and decent work and community productivity;
  • Improve or increase the services delivered by institutions involved in the creation of youth employment; and
  • Increase employment of youth in high demand areas in the private sector.

 

This programme started in 2009 with initial support provided by the Japanese Government. During the plan period, the required resources will be mobilized and requisite partnerships established to support full implementation of activities.

 

MRU will continue to pursue the formulation of a programme, with support by AfDB for the conservation of important ecological landscapes. The programme has three components – conservation of biodiversity; provision of livelihood opportunities to communities living in and around the landscapes; and support to capacity building at national levels, the MRU Secretariat and overall management of the programme.

 

Capacity Building

The training project financed by the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) aims to:

  • Train high-level senior civil servants and policy makers (600 persons for the project period). Most of the training will be done nationally using national and international experts and in selected institutions in the Africa region;
  • Equip senior civil servants with the operational, managerial and leadership skills needed to promote and lead change; and
  • Support the development of local training capacity and the development of comprehensive training delivery strategies (training programmes, curricula and materials).

 

The second project is focused on building capacity for negotiating and regulating investment and trade contracts so as to maximize benefits from the exploitation of the sub-region’s very rich natural resource endowments. The outcomes expected to be attained under this project are:

  • Foreign and domestic investment contracts negotiated on the most favorable terms for host countries;
  • A functioning sub-regional and regional networks for supporting countries involved in negotiations related to investments and natural resources exploitation;
  • Accountable and sustainable management of natural resources and revenue flows arising from their exploitation and particularly in support of pro-poor policies and programmes; and
  • A well-functioning knowledge management system put in place.

 

This project is managed by the UNDP Sub-regional Office in Dakar and is demand-driven – countries are required to formally request support under the project. Liberia and Sierra Leone currently benefit from support provided under the project. The MRU Secretariat will sensitize and facilitate action required for Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire to secure needed support under the project.

 

 

 

2.3 Challenges in implementing past programmes

 

Past programme implementation has not occurred without notable challenges in need of redressing for successful implementation of the current strategic action plan. Limited human and physical capital and lack of required financial resources are challenges that figure most prominently.

 

The Mano River Union Secretariat itself faces daunting challenges. All previous projects and programmes of the Union were either destroyed or completely vandalized during conflict years. Additionally, the Union Secretariat not only had its premises vandalized, but completely lost the required technical, human, logistical and administrative capacity to function effectively. This capacity challenge needs to be addressed if its mission ‘to plan, design and ensure implementation of projects and programmes to improve and sustain the well-being and living standards of the peoples of the sub-region’ is to be achieved.

SECTION III: STRATEGIC FOCUS OF THREE-YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN

 

Strategy for addressing the development challenges

 

T

aking into consideration the development challenges discussed in sub section 1.3.2, the governments of the sub-region, within the framework of their respective development agendas or Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), plan to address these development challenges from a poverty perspective through the pursuance of the strategic objectives outlined below:

    • Consolidate, improve and sustain economic growth;
    • Create and ensure access to opportunities for the growth and advancement of the poor and disadvantaged in society;
    • Improve governance and strengthen institutional and human capacity at all levels;
    • Develop and provide adequate and affordable social services;
    • Build and enhance required infrastructure to effectively support development and well-being of the residents; and
    • Consolidate and sustain peace and security in the sub-region.

 

3.1 The MRU Secretariat’s Focus

The Union Secretariat, the institution through which the MRU fulfills its mandate, will pursue the above objectives through a growth triangle/growth area approach with focus on common issues/concerns that undermine peace and socio-economic development with the broader ECOWAS mandate and agenda in view. In particular, the Secretariat will focus on strategic geographic locations within the MRU that will bring about benefits to all Member States and populations in such often forgotten regions. Specifically, this strategic plan will focus interventions on the following proposed growth areas[8], which cover all four countries of the MRU:

 

  • Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia growth area, covering South-east Liberia and South-West Côte d’Ivoire;
  • Liberia – Côte d’Ivoire-Eastern Forest-Guinea;
  • Eastern Sierra Leone-North-Western Liberia-Western Forest Guinea;
  • Southeast-Sierra Leone-South West Liberia-Coast line.

 

Growth triangle/growth area concept is also known as sub-regional economic zones and natural economic territories. They are co-operative ventures among three or more countries. Each country has different factors (labor, land, capital and entrepreneurship) which together are economically complementary, thus creating mutual advantages in external trade and investment. In reducing inequality or development disparity,[9] the concept aligns the capital, technology and human resources of more developed regions with the land, natural resources and labor of less developed areas.[10] The selected growth areas exhibit potential for addressing key issues for effective cooperation among the MRU countries especially in the areas of agriculture, energy, cross-border trade, fisheries, border security management, natural resource management and mining, ecosystems management, tourism and trade related infrastructure (transport).

 

The MRU Secretariat has been mandated[11] to chart the desired course of action for addressing the challenges facing the sub-region within the framework of four main pillars so that ultimately, the vision of the Union: ‘to ensure the establishment of a peaceful, stable and prosperous sub-region’ is attained. The four programmatic pillars are:

  • Institutional Revitalization and Restructuring;
  • Peace and Security;
  • Economic Development and Regional Integration; and
  • Social Development.

 

This strategic plan presents a roadmap for addressing the challenges facing the Union for the period 2012-2014, through projects and programmes that will be formulated and implemented within the framework of the above pillars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4: MRU Strategic Plan Pillars

 

Pillar I: Institutional Revitalization and Restructuring

 

Background

 

The institutional capacities for effective and efficient service delivery of the Secretariat and the public sector in the Member States of the Union required further strengthening before the onset of the civil conflicts in 1989. The conflicts unfortunately prevented not only the implementation of plans aimed at enhancing such capacity, but  rolled back or shattered whatever capacity was built at the Secretariat and particularly in the Member States of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

 

The effective functioning of the Secretariat and the institutions and agencies of government of Member States accordingly suffer from lack of technical and skilled professionals, poor and unconducive working environment, lack of required logistical support and incentives to enhance productivity.

 

Objectives

  1. Restore and enhance the capacity of the Secretariat to effectively carry out its assigned mandate with particular focus on human resources required for the implementation of the strategic plan.
  2. Contribute to the strengthening of technical capacity of senior civil servants and policy makers in the public sector of Member States to promote and lead change processes in support of poverty reduction and attainment of the millennium development goals; and enhancing capacity for negotiating and regulating investment and trade contracts.
  3. Review past programmes and projects of the Union with a view to determining their relevance in the light of the new and emerging realities and challenges facing Member States.

 

Strategy and Programmes

To address the challenges and achieve the above objectives, this pillar will focus on restoring physical, logistical, technical/human and administrative capacity of the Secretariat. Support will be secured to construct a fully equipped Mano River Union House to create a conducive working environment; recruit and/or train desired professionals/technocrats to implement the plan; and provide required logistics to facilitate the implementation of activities.

 

A review and possibly studies will be carried out to determine the state and relevance of past and ongoing projects and programmes of the Union with a view to ensuring their relevance, vis-à-vis, in responding to current challenges facing the sub-region.

 

Finally, the Secretariat will effectively support and over see the reformulation and implementation of two programmes aimed at building public sector capacity in policy formulation, analysis and management in support of the public sector reforms that are underway especially in Sierra Leone and Liberia which are most needed after the serious civil conflicts; and negotiating and regulating investment and trade contracts with focus on natural resources.

 

Pillar II: Peace and Security

 

Background

The peace and stability the sub-region enjoyed after gaining independence lasted only up to the mid 1960s. Political instability afterwards was due primarily to the poor nature and character of the governance systems and regimes in the Member States. This was evident by the excessive powers wielded by the leaders which suppressed any opposition that challenged such authority. Accordingly, while the few were getting richer and richer, the majority were living in poverty and deprivation. Marginalization, denial of the majority from participation in national affairs, lack of opportunities for self actualization and the poor state of national development resulted in large scale poverty and dissatisfaction. The poor quality of governance with associated negative vices which deprived the majority of acceptable living standards in the sub-region led to coups and counter coups and later devastating civil conflicts under the guise of patriotic revolutions to change the status-quo in the interest of the majority. However, the conflicts, instead of resolving the problems, have shattered the governance systems and structures further, as well as economic, social and infrastructure systems. Additionally, the conflicts have created insecurity and fear, thus making the sub-region unsafe for investment and the normal conduct of social and economic activities.

The youth were particularly affected by the civil wars in the MRU basin. Apart from been the predominant actors in the conflicts, they were also victims – deprived, exposed to all forms of violence and molestation, exposed to drugs and denied basic education. They are now a challenge to society which requires concrete and concerted action to make them positive contributors to national and sub regional development especially when they constitute the bulk of the population in the sub region.

Deprivation has further debilitated the youths as a result of massive unemployment and disguised unemployment. This situation poses threats to the fragile peace, security and stability, recovery, reconstruction and national and sub-regional development and integration.

 

The sub region is richly endowed with natural resources prominent among which are the rich fertile lands, the forest resources with biodiversity of national and global value, and mineral resources that can support and advance development. The fertile lands are underutilized and productivity is low. The sub region is accordingly food insecure. The rice riots in Liberia in 1989 which culminated in the coup of 1980 and the riots in 2008 as a result of the global food crisis are glaring cases in point. The mineral and forest resources of the sub region helped to support and prolong the civil conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone. These endowments, although economic in nature, have created conditions that have serious security implication thus warranting them to be treated within a security context.

 

The spread of the civil conflicts in the Member States of the sub-region demonstrates their inter-dependence in all spheres of life. It is evident that insecurity in one country poses threats to the neighboring states taking into consideration the fact that the borders are extensive, impassable in many areas, porous and with poor infrastructure. Additionally, border posts lack trained manpower and required equipment to effectively monitor and control movement of peoples and goods as well as the delivery of services. Accordingly, security is not only further threatened, but arms and drug trafficking, trafficking in humans and terrorism pose serious challenges to sustained peace and security in the sub-region. Pursuing peace at individual country level, taking into consideration the prevailing security context is now considered unsustainable. Collaboration between countries in the sub-region and the formulation and adoption of a common strategy for sustained peace, security and stability is considered the best way forward.

 

The gradual return of democratic governance in Member States of the Union, although not violent free due to reasons related to structure, systems, processes and the general conduct of the elections, the need for maintaining the progress, even if slow, is vital.

 

Objectives

  1. Review and update the 15th Protocol to the MRU Declaration on Cooperation on Defense, Security, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs to accommodate emerging realities and concerns and implement its provisions.
  2. Ensure effective and efficient management of the borders so as to improve cross border security in the sub-region to ensure human and material security.
  3. Support the enhancement and sustenance of democratic governance, culture and transitions.
  1. Constructively and practically contribute to the promotion and maintenance of food security in the sub region.
  1. Contribute to biodiversity conservation and restoration of sustainable management of forest ecosystems.
  2. Ensure effective regional mineral and natural resources management
  3. Contribute to the transformation of youth into productive citizens and true contributors to national and sub regional development.

 

Strategy and programmes

To address the above challenges in a sub-regional context and achieve pillar II’s objectives, the MRU will focus on seven (7) main project areas.

  • The implementation of the provisions of the revised 15th Protocol to the MRU Declaration on Cooperation on Defense, Security, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs;
  • The formulation and implementation of a border management programme.
  • The establishment of a sub-regional framework to sustain and ensure democratic transitions peacefully;
  • Formulate and implement a MRU rice and cassava programme in support of food security;
  • Conserve and sustainably manage five of the remaining forest landscapes of the Upper guinea Forest Ecosystem; and
  • Develop and approve a sub regional framework for the exploitation of the mineral resources.
  • Formulate and implement a youth employment programme.

 

In general, overall guidance and direction for these interventions will come from national laws and regulations on elections, the AU and ECOWAS Protocols and other international conventions relative to democratic governance with focus on elections.

 

In particular, these will be pursued within the framework of the 15th Protocol to the MRU Declaration on Co-operation on Defense, Security, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs. This Protocol, among other things, calls for the establishment of structures, systems and mechanisms to facilitate information gathering and analysis on security issues; dissemination of appropriate security information to stakeholders with a view to ensuring common understanding and appreciation of developments on the security front; monitoring of borders, holding of appropriate meetings to understand and address security issues and concerns; and providing the atmosphere for confidence building within and among communities especially along the borders. Overall, this protocol aims at making national and sub-regional security the business and responsibility of all citizens so as to prevent conflict and sustain the peace.

 

Food Security

Between 60-75 percent of the population in the sub-region rely on agriculture for their sustenance and survival. Food crops, cash crops, tubers and vegetable production constitute the major activities of farming households. Technological, production, infrastructure and marketing constraints seriously hamper productivity in this sector. As a result, the sub-region is currently food insecure. Also, the 2008 food crisis resulted in riots in many countries, generating negative effects on the social, political and economic life of the populations. It is estimated that the sub-region spends about US$800 million on rice imports to meet yearly consumption demands. A strategy[12] for addressing the food situation on a sustainable basis recommends a medium and long-term approach to addressing the food crisis with primary focus on making rice not only a commercial crop but an instrument for poverty reduction in the sub-region.

 

To address the sub-region’s food insecurity, support has been secured from the World Bank (WB) under the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) and with technical guidance of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), a rice programme has been formulated. The MRU Secretariat provided leadership for the formulation of the programme guided by the ECOWAS agricultural policy. Primary focus is on addressing productivity and marketing constraints so as to make rice not only a commercial crop but an instrument for poverty reduction. Additionally, the establishment of food security hub[13] will be pursued in support of ensuring food security in the sub region. 

 

 

 

Tran boundary Forest management

The Upper Guinea Forest Ecosystem is the third largest natural forest landscape in the world. The ecosystem is rich in biological resources of national and global value but threatened by populations living on the borders that rely on these resources for their survival due to lack of alternative livelihoods. Additionally, the mineral resources within these landscapes pose threats to conservation due to desire of Governments to exploit them for revenue generation for national development. Liberia is now estimated to have about 42% of the remaining forest cover, followed by Côte d’Ivoire estimated at 28%, Guinea estimated at 8%, and Sierra Leone estimated at 5% (Sayer et al. 1992). They are therefore now regarded as biodiversity hotspots and the need to protect and preserve the endemic fauna and flora is now a global concern. The MRU countries, collectively now possess the largest portion of the remaining Upper Guinea Forest Ecosystem and the conservation of this landscape can be beneficial not only to the MRU but the world at large.

 

The Mineral Sector

The sub-region is endowed with rich mineral resources with gold, diamonds, iron ore, bauxite being the primary ones. These mineral endowments can be sources of vast revenue for governments as well as benefit communities in which they are located thus contributing to sustainable development. It is however unfortunate that none of the Member States can show tangible evidence of the benefits derived from the exploitation of the mineral resources. These deposits have further created and/or fuelled conflicts in this sub-region in particular.

 

It has been discovered through a World Bank supported study on the mineral sector in the sub region that some of these mineral deposits do not follow political boundaries but are rather located in mineral belts which cross country borders[14]. Exploring approaches and strategies for developing these mineral resource corridors using common infrastructure, power sources and management, although challenging, can create opportunities for balanced growth and development as well as the attainment of the MDGs.

 

For the management of sub region’s mineral wealth, focus will be on the harmonization of laws, policy and regulatory framework and collecting adequate geological data. In addressing the challenges[15] of the mineral sector in Member States, MRU will apply the growth triangle/growth area concept and will focus on the following three potential mining clusters:

    • The eastern iron ore deposit cluster on the Guinea/Liberia border (Nimba range);
    • The West/Central Iron ore and Gold deposit cluster on the Liberia/Sierra Leone border; and
    • The Central Guinea and Northern Sierra Leone Bauxite deposit.

 

The Africa Mining Vision 2050 (AU 2008); Regional Harmonization of Mining Policies, Standards, Legislation and Regulatory Framework (SADC 2004) and its Implementation Plan (2008), West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Mineral Policy (1999) and Code (2003) and the ECOWAS Directive on the Harmonization of Guiding Principles and Policies in the Mining Sector (2009) all provide the framework for pursuing the regional approach.

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 5: Location of Sub-Regional Mining Infrastructure cluster opportunities

 

Additionally, the need to address the threats and challenges posed by artisanal mining has also been stressed since it provides livelihood for hundreds of thousands of the population in the sub region.

 

 

 

Youth Employment

The unemployment rate in the sub-region lies between 60-85 percent. For a region that has experienced civil conflict for over a decade and half, this is dangerous for the sustenance of peace and security. The war attracted a generation of youth whose future is bleak. They have lost out on education and have no marketable skills. Failing to address their needs will negatively impact the fragile peace the region enjoys now. The need to take their minds away from war and make them productive citizens demands the formulation and implementation of projects and programmes that can build their skills for employment and self employment.

Youths will be targeted through the continuation of the implementation of the youth employment programme that was suspended in 2009 due to funding limitations. The focus will be on youths residing in border areas with the following as target groups:

 

  • Marginalized, poor urban and rural youth;
  • Youth who wish to start up a business or to become employed or improve community productivity;
  • Youth who already own a business and wish to expand.

 

 

 

 

Pillar III: Economic Development and Regional Integration

 

Background

Taking into consideration the rich natural resource base of the sub-region, the potential for collaboration to ensure economic development and integration is extremely vast. Additionally, this pillar has the greatest potential not only to reduce poverty and immensely contribute to the attainment of the MDGs, but to also improve the well-being and living standards of the populations.

 

Noting that issues related to food security, environmental conservation and the mineral sector, by virtue of their security considerations are covered under the security pillar, this pillar will therefore deal with issues related to transboundary water basin management, trade promotion and industrial development, and infrastructure development to fully support economic growth, development and sub regional integration. For most of these programmes, a sub-regional approach will be adopted guided by the growth triangle/growth area concept.

 

A brief background is provided below for each of the sub sectors of this pillar:

 

Tran boundary Water Basin Management

The water resources of the sub-region are vast but underdeveloped, underutilized and poorly managed. The sub-region is blessed with abundant water resources with great potential for producing hydro-power, as well as for supporting agricultural productivity. In particular, the Mano River basin is shared among three (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) of the four countries of the Union while the Cavally basin is shared by Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire. The Mano and Cavally Rivers therefore represents a common strategic resource in the sub-region. Managing these water resources in the sub-region should be one of the focus areas in the next three years.  Reducing the competition for water for domestic use, agriculture and industrial purposes is crucial to avert possible conflict over the resource especially in border areas. Additionally, it must be noted that 75-80 percent of the water supply in West Africa has its source in this sub region. The need to fully tap the potential of the water resources and ensure its sustainable management is long overdue.

 

 

Trade Promotion and industrial Development

It is fully recognized that the private sector has to take the lead if sustainable growth and development should take place in the sub-region. The current levels of formal trade among MRU countries is insignificant or modest and in recent times affected by sporadic policies and counter policies among Member States hampering cross border trade. Conclusions drawn from a private sector forum[16] on the MRU countries indicate the need for the Governments to come up with laws, policies, regulations and incentives to attract investment; secure resources for the development of the sectors; and domesticate and implement provisions under the MRU and ECOWAS protocols on free movement and trade. In the light of the huge potentials for investment in the sub region, the need to create the enabling environment for attracting such investment is vital.

 

Infrastructure

Infrastructure primarily encompasses issues related to transport (land, sea/water, and air); water and sanitation, communications, energy and power. Availability of such infrastructure attracts investment in most sectors of the economy as well as support, facilitate and promote development. The infrastructure situation in the MRU basin can be described as unacceptable taking into consideration its natural resource endowments. On the Africa Infrastructure Development Index, the MRU states are stand as follows for 2009:

 

Country                                   Rank                                        National Coverage                                                                                                                                             

Cote D’Ivoire                           28th                                                                                                            28%

Guinea                                     29.7th                                                  29.7%

Liberia                                                 43rd                                                                                                            13.2%

Sierra Leone                            50th                                                      4.9%

 

It can be seen from the above that the full development of infrastructure in the sub region is crucial for national and sub-regional development and integration.

In the case of energy and power, the situation is dire for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone but more so for Liberia and Sierra Leone which have emerged from devastating civil conflict. For these states, the lack of requisite energy and power is seriously hampering recovery, reconstruction and development initiatives. The lack of energy and power is also hampering investment due to increased investment costs in energy and power provision.

 

Transport infrastructure (roads, rail, air, sea) in the sub-region is poor thus posing serious challenges to increased productivity, free movement, trade and commerce, investment, overall socio-economic development and economic integration. Compounding the problem further is the lack of requisite and reliable communications infrastructure including lack of access to the majority due o costs. Accordingly, traveling within the sub-region, especially by air, is not only expensive due to lack of direct flights within and among Member States, but time consuming. The roads connecting the Member States, which could serve as the most reliable and affordable alternative, are deplorable and sometimes impassable during the rainy season. Even the Trans African Highway, which Member States committed themselves to, is yet to be completed. Due to the extensive and porous nature of the borders, key roads need to be identified for construction to fully link the Member States to facilitate free movement, trade and commerce, as well as improve revenue generation. The rail network is practically non-existent. What existed in Liberia require rehabilitation and that in Sierra Leone was unfortunately removed long before the conflicts. What exists in Member States is mostly supportive of private interests with focus on natural resource exploitation.

 

Objectives

 

  1. Ensure the sustainable conservation, utilization and management of the transboundry water resources of the sub region;
  2. Create enabling conditions for promoting trade and attracting investment to the sub region; and
  3. Build and improve required infrastructure to support and sustain socio-economic development within and among Member States

 

Strategy and programmes

To address the above challenges and attain the desired objectives as well as unlock the economic development potential, the MRU will apply the principles and practices of the growth triangle/growth area concept as outlined in the growth triangle study for the MRU. Through this, the MRU will pursue interventions in the following areas:

 

Water Basin Management

The issue of managing the available water resources is crucial for development in the sub-region. Priority will be given to the implementation of the “Mano River Basin Development Project”[17]. The Mano River Basin development project will directly impact on other projects (rice programme, forest ecosystems conservation project, energy project etc) of the MRU as proposed in this strategic plan. Particular attention will be paid to the use of water resources for the generation of energy and power, improving productivity in the agriculture sector through irrigation and creating opportunities for investment in other sectors.

 

Trade and Industry

In the area of trade and industry, support will be provided to undertake appropriate studies/assessments that will provide desired information to facilitate decision making by the governments as well attract funding to address the challenges faced in the sectors of trade promotion and industrial development.  

 

Infrastructure

All requisite actions will be taken to ensure that the Union can access and make full use of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) in collaboration with ECOWAS and engage in dialogues for utilization of surplus energy in Member States[18].

 

The support secured from the AfDB by the MRU Secretariat for the study of the water basin in the sub-region will be pursued so as to lay the basis for the formulation of requisite projects and programmes that would address the energy and power challenges on a more sustainable basis.

 

Key roads to effectively link member countries will be identified.[19] Discussions will be held with these countries to agree on the road links to effectively connect the sub region. This will provide the basis for the Secretariat to prepare a programme document on the road network and secure requisite funding from donors starting with funding facilities under ECOWAS. In the case of air transport, the Air Mano initiative which was reaching a conclusive stage for funding by the private sector before the civil conflicts will be revisited. The rail network will be considered in tandem with investment in the mineral sector. Sea and river transport will require studies and assessment to determine what needs to be done.

 

 

Pillar IV: Social Development

 

Background

The health and education infrastructure and systems of the Member States of the Union, especially Liberia and Sierra Leone, were severely devastated during the civil conflicts. It is estimated that 60-75 percent of the health and education infrastructure in these two countries were left in a state of disrepair, a large number of medical personnel lost their lives and tens of thousands sought refuge within and outside of the sub-region thus making access to medical services minimal or almost impossible, as well as prohibitive due to high costs, especially in the rural areas. Capacities to provide desired medical services in facilities that are operating leave much to be desired. Deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS/STI, Tuberculosis and Malaria including Lassa Fever which plague the sub-region require urgent attention especially along the borders since such areas are not given the desired consideration in national planning and budgeting. A similar situation prevails in the education sector with hundreds of thousands of school-going children out of school. Although conditions in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire are not as difficult as in Liberia and Sierra Leone, costs, access and quality of services remain significant challenges.

 

The sub-region is bi-lingual (English and French being official languages) and at the moment, communication between citizens in the sub-region poses challenges even for literate people. Educational systems in the respective countries do not emphasize language skills. Easy communication facilitates dialogue on issues of common interest and promotes collaboration, harmony, trade and commerce as well as peace and security. Easy communication further facilitates and support integration. The need to ensure that citizens of the sub-region speak both languages is crucial.

 

The conflicts in the sub region shattered the peace, cohesion and tranquility within and among families and communities. Hatred and mistrust became the order of the day. Additionally, value systems were lost. These need to be restored so as to nurture and sustain the peace.  

 

Women and children are still negatively impacted by the cultural and social norms within the sub region. Women, girls and children experienced violence and brutality during the conflicts that have left them disadvantaged and deprived as well as traumatized. United Nations Resolutions 1325 and 1820 were crafted to address these issues and make women and children positive contributors to national and sub regional development. In addition to the formulation of action plans by Governments to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the resolutions, a sub regional action plan has also been developed. The MRU Secretariat has a role to play in ensuring the full implementation of the sub regional action plan.

 

Accordingly, selected issues related to health; education including language training; promotion of peace and stability through culture and sports; women and children within the framework of UN resolutions 1325 and 1820 will be addressed under this pillar in collaboration with the Member States.

 

Health and Education

For the sub-region, addressing the health situation for residents along the borders is critical taking into consideration the massive displacement of the population during the conflicts resulting in tens of thousands of them now residing in border areas where they sought refuge. These refugees relied primarily on the humanitarian support to address their critical health problems and that of host communities especially in the areas of HIV/AIDS/STI, TB and malaria, which threatened and continue to take a tool on the population as well as pose serious challenges to socio-economic development nationally and sub-regionally. Lassa Fever has also become a deadly infectious disease with between 300,000 to 350,000 persons infected per year in West Africa. The disease is endemic in Liberia and Sierra Leone and also reported to be present in Guinea and cote d’Ivoire. It is the most frequently exported disease and therefore requires attention and action.

 

 

Women and children

Cultural norms and traditions, legal barriers/deficiencies, and gender-based violence have negatively impacted women’s role in society and their full contribution to national and sub-regional development. Additionally, child abuse and trafficking are on the increase with impunity. Gender disparities with particular focus on biases against women and the abuse of children are glaring and require redress.

 

Objectives

  1. To support the sub-region to meet goal six of the MDGs – to stop and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS/STI as well as address health issues related to malaria, tuberculosis and Lassa fever.

 

  1. Support Member States in putting into place required structures and systems that will facilitate and enhance the speaking of both official languages (English and French) by the populations in the sub-region as well as build technical capacity in the public sector; and

 

  1. Address the problems of vulnerable populations (women, children and youths) and the involvement of youths in productive activities with an emphasis on women.

 

Strategy and programmes

To contribute to the achievement of social development, the focus of this strategy will be on a review of policies, strategies and laws on health, education, women and children and youth employment of Member States. These instruments will be reviewed for these sectors to support cooperation and collaboration among MRU Member States for harmonization of standards in ensuring that available capacity and standards within and among Member States is uniform. 

 

For specific interventions in these sectors, the emphasis is on border regions and areas covering two or more of the MRU countries. Specifically:

 

A pilot health project implemented in the border region on reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS/STI will be extended, with secured funding, to other target areas.

 

Language training[20] will be given attention to make communication easier between citizens in the sub-region. A thorough assessment will be undertaken to determine the nature and scope of such interventions.

 

On health and education, geographical coverage will include the identified growth areas identified by the growth triangle study and other requisite border regions. The aim will be to ensure that children get primary education and basic medical services.

 

The Secretariat, in collaboration with the Member States, will assess and analyze the situation of women and children within the framework of UN Security Council resolutions 1825 and 1820 with particular focus on issues related to gender based violence and child abuse and trafficking in border areas with a view to designing projects/programmes to address them on a sub-regional basis.

 

 

 

 

SECTION 4: IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND REPORTING

4.1 Implementation Arrangements

T

he plan will be implemented in two phases that would run concurrently – project/programme formulation; implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

 

  1. Project/programme formulation: This will begin with the identification of partners/stakeholders possessing the required expertise and/or engaged in activities related to the areas or sectors to be addressed. Potential donors will also be identified. These will be engaged to determine critical areas for action and related issues to be addressed as part of the formulation process. Consultations will be ensured at all levels from the conceptual stage to the finalization and approval of formulated projects and programmes. This will ensure that objectives, activities, beneficiaries, roles and responsibilities are well defined and buy-in and support assured to facilitate smooth implementation of programmes.

 

Noting that considerable studies, assessments with associated documentation are already available on most of the areas of intervention, and that the ECOWAS, AU, multilateral institutions and the UN system are vital sources of information and guidance, the Secretariat will draw on these studies and engage these institutions and organizations in the formulation and implementation of the projects and programmes.

 

Additionally, the concept of Growth Triangles, which have proven successful in South East Asia and Southern Africa, will be applied, also drawing from documentation on the potential use of this approach in the sub-region now available.

 

  1. Project/programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation: Each project/programme will have a clearly defined strategy and implementation arrangement as well as clear definition of roles and responsibilities. Some programmes will be implemented by the Secretariat, some by Member States, others by joint commissions of Member States as well as NOGs/civil society. The implementation arrangements will facilitate monitoring and evaluation.

 

Member States already have on going projects and programmes in their development agendas on some of the issues raised. The Secretariat will collaborate with the Governments in constructing the desired platform/framework and mobilizing resources for the attainment of the intended objectives. 

 

 

4.3 Guiding Principles for implementation of strategic action plan

 

The successful implementation of the MRU Secretariat’s strategic action plan will rest on the observance of key principles. These include:

 

 

 

Applying the growth triangle/growth area concept

This concept will guide programme formulation and implementation for the MRU through the Secretariat for the duration of this Strategic Plan. Programmes will almost always cover two or more countries of the MRU.

 

Political commitment and maintaining principles of good governance

The commitment of relevant MRU Governments through moral and financial support to the Secretariat will be fundamental for the implementation of the strategic plan.

 

Gender

The MRU must make greater contribution to gender opportunity and equity as a basic guiding principle in the formulation and implementation of all its projects and programmes. The Secretariat will ensure mainstreaming of gender issues into all its projects and programmes.

 

Private sector

Creating the enabling environment for the participation of private sector in the implementation of the strategic action plan is essential for success. A strong and dynamic private sector will be a prerequisite for implementing programmes in the growth areas as well as national and sub regional development.

 

Environmental sustainability

Like gender, the principles of environmental sustainability will be integrated into all projects and programmes of the MRU. Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) tools will be used to avoid negative environmental impact of the Union’s projects/programmes.

 

Partnerships and collaborations

The sub-region has daunting development challenges and addressing them requires multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary approaches. Technical/human, institutional, logistical and financial constraints need to be addressed. Effectively addressing these challenges therefore requires forging concrete partnerships to ensure buy-in and desired participation and support at all levels. The Secretariat will ensure that within the framework of each programme, such partnerships are established – from grassroots to national and international levels – to ensure that desired objectives are attained. The strategic plan provides the basis for identifying key partners since some partners have responsibility for pursuing projects/programmes in the areas the plan is focused on. Current partnerships with development partners such as the UN system, ECOWAS, AU, AfDB, WB, NGOs, Bilateral Governments and multilateral partners will be enhanced and used to leverage additional support from other partners and donors. For partnerships to serve the desired purposes, clear roles and responsibilities need to be defined for each of the partners and mechanisms established to ensure coordination in the implementation of the assigned responsibilities. 

 

 

4.4       Monitoring and Evaluation

 

The overall objective of monitoring and evaluation is to ensure that the intended objectives of projects and programmes are satisfactorily achieved. It also facilitates decision making on a continuous basis, based on the evolving conditions. A Programme Officer will provide required leadership and technical guidance for the conduct of monitoring and evaluation exercises supported by other programme staff in the Secretariat. The overall policy direction will be provided by the Union Council of Ministers with technical guidance from the Technical Commissions and the Technical Committee. Project/programme management units will serve as the information base to guide the conduct of monitoring and evaluation exercises.

 

For the exercise to be successful, a reliable information base will have to be established dealing with all aspects of intervention for the Union’s work. All designed projects and programmes will have clearly defined objectives, activities, inputs and outputs with related outcomes and indicators, roles and responsibilities of actors/stakeholders well defined and timelines for achievements specified.

 

A work plan will be developed by the responsible Programme Officer, based on the annual programme work plan, for the conduct of monitoring and evaluation exercises.

SECTION 5: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

 

5.1 Conclusions

 

T

his strategic plan provides a framework through which the MRU, through its Secretariat, will work with various Member States in realizing its vision of ‘ensuring the establishment of a peaceful, stable and prosperous sub-region’.

 

This strategic plan will also help position the MRU Secretariat, the Union’s implementing arm, in the midst of other regional bodies with similar mandates, to demonstrate its worth and value to sub regional and regional development and integration.

 

The plan provides a framework through which the MRU will show value addition with regards to regional and sub-regional integration. It provides the operational focus of the Union which is complementary to other regional bodies, especially ECOWAS.

 

The document provides a strategic framework and direction for the MRU, highlighting key pillars and objectives that will be followed in the next three years (2012-2014). The plan is ambitious but realistic given the challenges and opportunities in the sub-region.

 

5.1.2 The Mano River Union in three years

 

Upon the successful implementation of the three-year strategic plan, the MRU Secretariat will be operating in its own premises – The MRU House. Construction of at least three MRU Inter-State highways would have commenced, socio-economic development activities will have been initiated in at least two of the proposed growth areas. Productivity in rice and cassava production would be on the rise, strong foundation for sub regional integration would have been laid, border security would have been enhanced in all the four Member States, and a sustainable sub regional framework for forest resources conservation and management would have been established. Implementation of this plan will also produce an MRU with easy administrative procedures and limited barriers to cross-border movements of peoples, goods and services and joint border security management, in turn leading to a reduction in trafficking of drugs, human and small arms.

 

Most importantly, by the end of the three years, the MRU will have a strong, effective and efficient Secretariat addressing issue of sub-regional integration and maintenance of peace and security and with a clear mandate and role thus demonstrating its added value.

 

5.2 Recommendations

 

Following the approval of this strategic plan, a detailed MRU Secretariat capacity assessment should be conducted. This assessment should be at two levels:

 

The organizational level

Focus here will be on the internal structure, policies and procedures that determine an organization’s effectiveness.

 

At the individual level

These are the skills, experience and knowledge that allow each person to perform. The skills, experience and knowledge of current staff with regards to capacity to implement this strategy will be assessed and an analysis of how the identified gaps will be filled or addressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANNEXES

Annex I: Socio-economic Indicators in MRU countries

Comparative Parameters                                  Country Indicators
Côte d’Ivoire Guinea Liberia Sierra Leone
Population (2010) 21.6 m 10.3 m 4.1 m 5.8 m
Average Annual growth rate of population (2010-2015) 2.3% 2.7% 2.3% 2.6%
Proportion of population living below US$1.25 per day1 23.3% 70.1% 83.7% 53.4%
ECONOMIC
GDP (billion US$, 2008) 23.4 3.8 0.8 2.0
GDP/capita (US$, 2008) 1,137 386 222 352
GDP growth annual % (20095) 3.6 -0.3 4.6 4.0
Foreign direct investment, net inflows (% of GDP, 2008) 1.7 10.1 17.1 -0.2
Import of goods and services as % of GDP 42 30 66 43
Export of goods and services as % of GDP 50 26 31 24
EDUCATION
Adult literacy rate % aged  15yrs and above female/male 38.6/60.8 18.1/42.6 50.9/60.2 26.8/50
Adult literacy rate % aged 15 and above (2005-20081) 54.6 70.5 58.1 39.8
Gross primary/secondary/tertiary enrollment (2001-20091) 74.5/26.3/8.4 89.9/35.8/9.2 90.6/31.6/17.4 157.7/34.6/2.0
Public expenditure on education as percent of GDP (2000-20071) 4.6 1.7 2.7 3.8
Production of science and technology journals/articles (’99)   2 1 3
Tertiary students in Science and technology as % of enrollment   34   8
HEALTH
Life expectancy at birth (2010) 58.4 58.9 59.1 48.2
Under five mortality per 1000 live births (2008) 114 146 145 194
Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel (2000-20081) 57 38 46 42
Maternal mortality per 100,000 live births (2003-20081) 810 910 9943 1200
HIV/AIDS Prevalence rate (adults, 2007) 3.9 1.6 1.7 1.7
Public expenditure on Health as percent of GDP (2000-20071) 1.0 0.6 2.8 1.4
ENVIRONMENT (WATER AND SANITATION)
Population without access to safe drinking water (% in 2008) 20 29 32 51
Population without access to sanitation (% in 2008) 77 81 83 87
TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Fixed line and mobile phone subscribers per 100 people (2008) 52 39 19 19
Internet users per 100 people (2008) 3.2 0.9 0.5 0.3
Population covered buy mobile network (% in 2008) 59 80 .. 70
INFRASTRUCTURE
Electricity consumption per capita in kwh (2004) 224 87   24
Population without electricity (% in 2008) 50.5
Rank on the Africa Infrastructure development Index (AfDB 2009) 28 29 43 50
WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT
Year women gained right to vote and stand in elections 1952 1958 1946 1961
Women in parliament (% in 2008) 9 4 13.8 13.2
Labour force participation rate female/male (2010) 51.3/82.4 82.3/90 69.1/76.8 67.1/68.1

Sources:

1UNDP HDR 2010: Data refer to the most recent year available during the period specified

2UNCTAD’s least developed countries reports 2007 and 2010;

3Millennium Development Goals Progress Report 2010, Sierra Leone

4 Parliament was dissolved following the 2008 Coup

5 Data is for 2009 obtained from World Bank’s World Development Indicators

 

 

 

Annex II: A map of the sub-region showing the proposed growth triangle zones

           
     
       
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Liberia – Sierra Leone-Coastline Growth Area

 

Cote d`Ivoire – Liberia – Coastline Growth Area

 

                                                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annex III: Matrix of ongoing and planned projects and programmes under the four pillars of the strategic plan

Institutional Revitalization and Restructuring                      

Intervention Area Outcome(s) Objective(s) Output(s) Indicator(s) for outputs Status of implementation Partners Cost (in US$)
1. Institutional capacity building of the Secretariat The MRU Secretariat effectively and efficiently implementing its mandate.

MRU Secretariat serving as implementing arm of ECOWAS

Restore and enhance institutional and human capacity at the MRU Secretariat to effectively and efficiently carry out its assigned mandate.

Oversee implementation of ECOWAS supported projects in the sub region

MRU House constructed, furnished and equipped.

Operational manuals and organogram in place with requisite and qualified staffing.

Logistics and support services available.

Conducive and permanent working environment.

Statutory appointees, professionals and support staff at work.

MRU visible.

Land allocation by Sierra Leone Government in process.

Capacity building support to Secretariat ongoing.

Member States, AfDB, ACBF, Moroccan Government, UNFPA, UNDP, UNIDO, UNOWA, UNODC 10,000,000
2. Review and assessment of MRU past projects and programmes Reactivated projects/programmes under implementation and contributing positively to the socio-economic development of the sub region. Determine the relevance of past projects/programmes relative to   addressing prevailing and emerging development challenges facing the Union Report on review/assessments undertaken.

New projects/programmes formulated.

Documentation on the activities undertaken To be started in 2011 with preparation of the TOR and securing funding fior the assessments. Member States, UN system, AfDB 30,000
3. Capacity development for negotiating and regulating investment and trade contracts in MRU States MRU Member States enjoying optimal benefits from investments in natural resources exploration.

Improved living standards of the peoples of the sub region.

Strengthen the capacity of the Union’s Member States to negotiate, manage and regulate large-scale investment contracts as well as efficiently manage resources generated there from. Member States Governments’ capacity to negotiate contracts enhanced through technical and legal aid and training of functionaries.

Signed contracts beneficial to the Governments and citizens in the sub region.

Records on capacity enhancement activities. Records on negotiations and contracts signed. Increased revenue generation from contracts. Project on going with operational site in UNDP Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal. Liberia and sierra Leone are benefiting from project. First phase of project has ended. Inclusion of all Member States will be pursued once project is extended. Member States, UNDP, AfDB, ACBF  
4. Training For Senior Civil Servants in Member States Enhanced public service capacity in Member States for pursuing reforms, recovery and sustainable development. Build capacity of 500 senior civil servants and policy makers in financial, operational, managerial and leadership skills to help promote and lead change and development in their respective countries. 500 civil servants and policy makers trained as change agents.

Capacity of key local institutions enhanced to provide desired training activities.

Training programmes, curricula and materials developed to buttress training activities

Records on training activities conducted.

Record of support provided to national training institutions.

Documentation on training curricula and materials produced.

Implementation of training activities started in 2009 following delays due to the conflicts. Extension of project under negotiation with complete revision of project document. ACBF, GIMPA, Lead agencies/institutions in Member States ( IPAM, LIPA,CNPG) 1,700,000

 

 

 

 

Peace and Security

 

Intervention area Outcome(s) Objectives Output Output Indicators Status of implementation Partners Cost
1. Implementation of the 15th Protocol on Cooperation on Peace, Security and Defense. Sustained peace, security and stability in the MRU Basin.

 

Develop, institute and operationalize a peace and security architecture for sustaining peace and stability in the union including early warning system Institutional structures and systems as specified by the 15th Protocol in place to ensure sustenance of peace, security and stability.

Security Unit established in the MRU Secretariat with terms of reference for its operation.

Peace and security architecture.

Institutions under the protocol established and functional.

Records of deliberations of the institutions.

Security Unit operational.

A concept note was developed by the Secretariat in 2010 in support of the implementation of the 15th Protocol. A joint Security committee meeting was held in Monrovia in January 2011 with focus on addressing the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire. A security subcommittee meeting was held in July in Monrovia which came up recommendations on how the address security including the holding of a JSC meeting in Conakry in September 2011. The meeting was however held between 28 November to 1 December 2011. The 15th Protocol  was revised and a meeting of experts proposed to develop a framework for operationalizing the provisions. Security institutions/agencies

of Member States, UN system, ECOWAS, EU,

Bilateral partners.

 
2. Border Management Free movement of peoples, goods and services assured without hindrance.

Illegal and criminal cross-border activities minimized.

Increase revenue generation for governments.

Improve cross border security in the basin to ensure human and material security.

Build capacity and enhance accountability and roles of all actors. Strengthen MRU’s coordination role.

 

MRU framework for border management with associated legal and operational instruments consistent with that of AU and ECOWAS.

Information base and resource center established. Selected border posts equipped and manned by trained personnel. Effective monitoring system in place.

 

 

Fully functioning operational resource centre.

Selected border points functional.

Documentation system and processing easier and faster;

 

Framework for the programme developed. Full programme formulation in 2012 and implementation to follow. Security institutions/agencies

of Member States, ECOWAS, AU, EU, UN system  bilateral partners, AfDB, WB

 
3.Democratic Governance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robust and acceptable mechanism for changing Governments through the ballot box in place

 

Establish a sub-regional structure for monitoring elections in the sub region. Elections monitoring body for the MRU. Documentation on establishment of the structure and the monitoring body.

Records on activities of the body.

Meetings planned for agreeing on the framework for the establishment of the structure and the elections monitoring body. Security institutions/agencies

of Member States, ECOWAS, AU, EU, UN system 

 
4.Agriculture and Food Security MRU Sub region food secure.

Rice and cassava grown as a commercial crop and supporting poverty reduction.

Up-to-date national, sub regional and global information on food situation readily available.

Food Security Hub fully operational.

Ensure food security in the sub-region with focus on rice and cassava productivity.

Establish and operationalize a food security hub.

Rice and cassava available, accessable and affordable in the sub-region.

Food security hub established.

MRU rice programme document. 

Appreciable increases in rice and cassava production.

Documentation on the information generated by the hub.

Reports on activities carried o.

 

Preparation of the MRU rice programme started in 2009 and completed in 2010. Approval and funding secured in 2010. Implementation started in 2011 in Liberia and Sierra Leone with Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire to follow. MRU States, WB, Japan,   CORAF, ECOWAS, bilateral governments 53,000,000
5. Forest Ecosystem Conservation Structures and systems with required capacity for sustainable environmental conservation and management

 

Contribute to biodiversity conservation and restoration of sustainable management of forest ecosystem to the benefit of the population in the sub-region and the global community.

Ensure the regeneration and conservation of the ecosystems.

Improve the livelihoods of the populations around the protected landscapes.

Strengthen capacity of the institutions involved in the management of the Mano River Forest Ecosystems.  

Conserved fauna and flora in the five protected landscapes.

Residents engaged in sustainable livelihood activities.

Effective and efficient management structures and systems in place.

Documentation on the protected areas/national or sub regional parks.

Parks attracting tourists.

Alternative livelihood activities around the protected areas. Ecotourism ongoing.

Monitoring and evaluation reports.

Programme formulated in 2010. Appraisal, approval and implementation planned for 2012. Agencies and institutions of MRU Member governments, AfDB, AU, EU, USAID, NGOs ECOWAS Programme initially estimated to cost US$50 million. Programme planned for five-year implementation.
6.Mineral Sector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laws, policies, structures, systems and procedures instituted nationally and sub regionally to guide initiation, negotiation and signing of concession/investment contracts/agreements beneficial to the governments and peoples of the sub region. Develop a sub regional strategy for beneficially exploring the mineral resource endowments. Effective and efficient laws, policies, systems and procedures in place for tapping the potential of the mineral resources in the MRU. Documentation on situation analysis.

Unified procedures and processes for artisanal mining. Mining concession agreements.

In response to a request from the governments of the Union, the World bank supported an assessment of the mineral sector in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in 2009. The report identifies mineral clusters that can be exploited on a sub regional basis. Member States of the Union, MRU Secretariat, WB, UNDP, GIZ  
7. Youth Employment Youth in the sub region engaged in productive ventures and/or gainfully employed and contributing to national and sub regional development.

 

Support cvapacity development and the engagement of the target group in productive and decent work in both urban and rural areas;

Improve or increase the services delivered by institutions involved in the creation of youth employment; and

Increase employment of youth in high demand areas in the private sector.

 

Sustainable business enterprises established and operational;

Loan scheme operational;

Standardized technical training schemes in place and skills of youth built ;

Sub-regional youth forum and steering committee established and in operation;

Information network established.

 

Documentation on outputs.

Reports on activities undertaken. Youth enterprises in operation and number of youth employed as a result of support provided.

Implementation of a pilot phase of the programme ended in 2009. Reformulation of a new programme is in progress. In the interim, the Indian Government has provided support through UNIDO to train 16 youth entrepreneurs. The project is ongoing. UNIDO ILO, UNDP, Youth Employment Network (YEN) and other relevant UN agencies, Indian Government.

 

 

 

 

Economic Development and Regional Integration

Intervention area Outcome(s) Objective Output(s) Output indicators Status of Implementation Partners Cost (US$)
1. Transboundary Water Basin Management Transboundary water bodies sustainably utilized and managed in support of national and sub regional development. Assess transboundary water basins with a view to developing national and sub regional capacity for their effective utilization and management as well as formulating investment proposals and mobilizing resources for their implementation. From a long-term perspective enhanced socio-economic development of the sub region and improved living standards of the peoples.

In the medium-term, a shared vision in place for the sustainable management of water basins with enhanced capacity in place.

In the short-term, reports on management of water basins and plans for their utilization, priority investment proposals, partnership meetings held including donor meetings.

New development initiatives underway.

Improved incomes to households around the water basins.

Sustainable management systems and structures in place with required capacity.

New resources mobilized.

 

The project was formulated    
               
3. Trade and Industry Sub regional trade and investment strategy operational.

Unhindered trade and movement of peoples within the sub region.

Investment and industrial growth flourishing in the MRU basin.

 

Develop and adopt common trade and investment strategy that will promote and enhance trade as well as attract private sector investment in the sub region. Adopted MRU trade and investment strategy. Improved investment climate as evidenced by new investments.

Trade volume within sub region increased.

Increased revenue generation from trade and investment.

Business forum was held in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009 which defined possible areas for investment.

Trade meeting was held in October in 2011 in Abidjan which came up with recommendations for promoting trade and attracting investment in the MRU basin.

Institutions and agencies of Member States, UN, ECOWAS, EU, bilateral and multilateral institutions.  
               
5. Infrastructure International standards of access to energy and power enjoyed by citizens of the MRU Member States.

Member States effectively connected by road, air and sea.  

Ensure generation, availability and affordable energy and power to the population in the sub-region.

Construct, improve and enhance transport infrastructure.

A sub regional framework for the generation and supply of energy and power in the MRU basin formulated and adopted.

Key transport infrastructure identified and constructed or improved.

Energy and power available and affordable in the sub-region.

Transport infrastructure improved and enhanced.

Documentation on infrastructure contracts signed.

The WAPP is operational. The Secretariat will develop a programme defining how the Member states can benefit from the existing facilities as well as potentials for energy and power generation. Member States, AfDB,

ECOWAS,

EU, Bilateral Governments

 

 

Social Development

 

Intervention area Outcomes Objective(s) Expected Output Expected Output indicator(s) Implementation Status Partners Cost in

(US$)

1. Health Populations in the border areas of the Union having access to required medical services with focus communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS/STI, TB, Malaria and Lassa Fever. Reverse and arrest the incidence and spread of HIV/AIDS/STIs, prevent the spread of new infections of HIV/AIDS/STI among refugees, internally displaced populations and their host communities.

Treat and control the incidence and spread of malaria, tuberculosis and Lassa fever.

 

Constructed and selected medical facilities along the borders equipped to provide desired services to the populations.

Support provided to groups living with the virus.

Strengthened national medical facilities.

Common policy and joint programmes for control of communicable diseases operational.

Medical services provided in the health facilities.

Reports on activities undertaken.

The pilot phase of the HIV/AIDS/STI programme ended in March 2009. Securing support for the continuation of the programme as well incorporating TB, Malaria underway.

A sub regional meeting on lassa Fever was held in August in Freetown, Sierra leone resulting in the formulation of a five-year plan which is expected to be approved by Health Ministers before end of 2011.

Health Ministries of Member States, AfDB, UNFPA, WHO, Global Fund, NGOs, CBOs  
2. Education Uniform education policies and standards operational in Member States.

 

 

 

School going children having access education in critical areas along the borders.

Build human capacity for the public sector in Member States.

 

 

 

 

Provide and facilitate access to education for school going children in remote border areas.

Support the teaching of French and English

 

 

Trained personnel in public service.

 

 

 

 

 

School going children having access to schools in remote areas along the borders. French and English part of the syllabus of schools.

Documentation on those trained and where they are serving.

Public sector performance enhanced.

Constructed schools operational.

Assessment of past programme to be undertaken to determine need and scope of new programme to be developed.

Assessments to be undertaken to determine nature and scope of programme.

Member States, UN, bilateral partners,  
3. Women and Children  Modernized legal framework and development programmes operational for women and children consistent with UN Resolutions 1325 and 1820. Protect and secure the interest, well-being and advancement of women and children.

Implement the provisions of the Un Resolutions

Laws, procedures, policies and programmes in place to protect, secure and support the advancement of women and children. Approved instruments to protect the rights and advancement of women and children.

Projects and programmes in support of women and children implemented.

National and sub regional action plans geared towards addressing provisions of the two resolutions formulated and under implementation. UN, Member governments, UNOWA, UNICEF, UNIFEM, NGOs  
       

 

       

 

 

 

 

Annex IVa: Implementation plan for 2012

Intervention area Planned activities Expected output(s) Output indicators Timeframe Responsibility Cost in (US$)
Pillar I Institutional Revitalization and Restructuring

 

1. Institutional capacity building of the Secretariat Begin implementation of activities under the AfDB supported capacity building project – management study, staff capacity needs assessment, develop organogram, establish documentation center and communications strategy, set up financial system, provide legal services and cost the strategic plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepare design for the construction of a Mano river Union House.

 

 

Initiate construction of the MRU House

 

 

 

Undertake knowledge and experience sharing visits to the Mekong and Congo river basins including resource mobilization missions.

 

 

 

 

 

Support bilingual language training for staff of the Secretariat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staff capacity development plan

prepared and implemented.

 

Financial management system instituted and made functional.

 

Organogram developed for the Secretariat.

 

Three-year strategic plan of the Secretariat costed.

 

Established and operational documentation center.

All administrative documents, protocols and conventions legally consistent with international standards.

 

Communications strategy for the Secretariat.

 

Peace and security unit established.

 

Revised and approved staff rules and procedures manual operational.

 

Approved financial manual.

 

 

 

Architectural drawings completed and approved.

 

 

About 25% of construction work completed.

 

 

Secretariat with knowledge base to guide thrust and direction of forest conservation and management.

 

Resource mobilization enhanced.

 

Staff knowledge and understanding of English and French improved.

Enhanced service delivery within the Secretariat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building plan of the MRU House.

 

 

 

 

Physical construction in progress.

 

 

Systems and structures for the conservation programme more enhanced and functional.

 

Resource generation increased.

 

 

Speaking of English and French improved.

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat, Member States, AfDB, ACBF, Development Partners 596,750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

500,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5,000

2. Review and assessment of MRU past projects/programmes Prepare TOR for the review and assessment exercise to be undertaken.

 

Secure funding for the exercise.

 

 

Recruit Consultant(s) to carry out the assessment.

Approved TOR.

 

 

 

 

Secured funding and sources.

 

 

Report on the assessment carried out.

Clearly defined outputs for the consultancy.

 

 

Documentation on resources required for the assessment and sources.

Findings and recommendations of the assessment.

 

.

X  

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat

Member States

Consultants

30,000
1.3 Capacity development for negotiating and regulating investment and trade contracts in MRU States Engage the UNDP Regional office in Dakar on extension of project. Project extension endorsed and reformulated. Project activities restarted. X X     MRU Secretariat, UNDP, Member States  
1,4 Training of Senior Civil Servants in Member States Redesign, approve and sign the project taking into consideration new and emerging capacity needs of the Member states.

 

Begin implementation of activities in the approved project document.

Signed reformulated project document.

 

 

 

 

Project Implementation Unit established. Training activities carried out.

Report on capacity assessment needs carried out in Member States.

 

 

 

Report on training activities carried out.

Report on performance and impact of those trained in institutions they work.

X

 

 

 

 

 

X  

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

  50,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

350,000

 

 

Pillar II Peace and Security

 

2.1 Implementation of the 15th Protocol on Peace, Security and Defense Hold sub regional Technical/experts and Joint Security Committee and Summit meetings.

 

 

 

 

 

Support the additional establishment and operation of Confidence Building Units along the borders and facilitate the holding of five meetings in Gwekedu, Guiglo, Man, Kambia and Madiana.

 

Establish Security Unit at the Secretariat.

Technical and Joint Security Committee meetings held.

Approved framework for sustaining and promoting peace in the sub region.

 

Confidence Building Units established and operational.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terms of reference and modalities for operation of the Unit including staff in place

Report on meetings held.

Security architecture for the sub region in place.

Enhanced security conditions.

 

 

Reports on meetings of the Units.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Security information management and coordination in operation.

X X  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat

Member States

AfDB

Other Development Partners

150,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

75,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000

2.2 Border Management Formulate, approve and sign a border management programme.

 

Begin implementation of outlined activities under the programme.

Signed border management programme document. Clearly defined issues to be addressed under the programme.

 

Institutional, human, logistical, data management and reporting capacity enhanced at selected borders.

X X    

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat

Member States

Development partners.

50,000

 

 

 

 

100,000

2.3 Democratic Governance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hold meetings of Heads of Electoral Commissions.

 

 

 

 

Establish framework for supporting acceptable electoral processes in the sub region with focus on voter registration lists, voter education, sensitization and observation.

Sub regional framework for ensuring peaceful democratic transitions through elections.

Structure and nature of support defined and approved including membership of elections observation team.

Electoral systems and processes in support of free, fair and transparent elections.

 

MRU elections observation team.

Report on elections observed.

  X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

Member States, MRU Secretariat, civil society, development paerners 50,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

250,000

2.4 Agriculture and Food Security

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Establish Coordination Unit for the implementation of the MRU Rice Programme.

 

Implement the work plan in collaboration with WECARD/CORAF.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Establish the Food Security Hub in Liberia with associated structures in member States and a Coordinating Unit at the Secretariat..

 

 

 

 

 

Formulate and secure approval on a sub regional policy on agriculture.

 

 

Coordination Unit established and staffed.

 

 

Framework for facilitating movement of agricultural inputs as well trade in rice between the Member States established. Monitoring and reporting on activities carried out.

 

Food Security Hub established and operational. Coordination Unit established at the Secretariat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Framework for supporting and promoting agriculture in the sub region.

 

Coordination Unit fully operational.

 

 

 

Trade in agricultural inputs and rice carried out with ease.

Reports on monitoring visits and quarterly and annual report on programme implementation on file.

 

 

Record on recruitment of consultants to support the establishment and operations of the hub.

Food security database operational and regularly updated.

 

Approved policy in operation in Member States.

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat

Member States

WECARD/CORAF

FAO

Development Partners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

900,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

357,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000

2.5  Environmental Conservation and Management.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.6 Mineral Sector

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facilitate and support the appraisal of the MRU Forest Conservation programme to set the basis for its approval by AfDB Board and signature of grant agreement.

 

Establish in collaboration with the AfDB, the sub regional and national institutional frameworks for the implementation of the programme.

 

Initiate implementation of programme activities in line with the work plan.

 

Recruit consultants to formulate projects in support of environmental conservation and management.

 

Hold meeting(s) to develop and approve a sub regional framework for the exploitation of mineral clusters.

 

 

Approved programme document and signed grant agreement.

 

 

 

 

 

Implementation structures and systems for the programme established.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projects documents

 

 

 

 

 

Signed framework for mineral exploration in the sub region.

Conservation and management of the identified landscapes initiated.

 

 

 

 

 

Management structures at landscapes operational.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Documentation on formulation process

 

 

 

 

Exploration of minerals governed by the framework.

X X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Member States, MRU Secretariat, AfDB,GEF, AU, DfID, EU, USAID, NGOs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Member States, MRU Secretariat, WB, AU, ECOWAS

12,000,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

75,000

2.7 Youth Employment Monitor and coordinate the implementation of the current youth project focused on entrepreneurial capacity development.

 

Formulate new youth programme to help address the problems of youth in the sub region

Entrepreneurial training provided for 16 youth from the sub region in India.

 

 

 

 

Formulated and approved youth programme.

Trainees back home and engaged in productive business ventures and supporting other youth.

 

 

Capacity and employment problems of youth being addressed.

X X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat, Member States, UNIDO 169.500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,200,000

 

Pillar III Economic Development and Regional Integration

 

.3 Transboundary Water Basin Management Sign grant agreement with the AfDB.

 

Begin implementation of project activities.

Signed grant agreement to facilitate project implementation. Project activities under implementation. X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Member States, MRU Secretariat, AfDB, GEF 1,185,793

 

 

 

 

 

3.5 Trade and Industry Recruit consultants to prepare a sub regional framework to facilitate the holding of a trade fair.

 

Organize sub regional trade fairs and investment fora.

 

 

Promote existing texts on trade liberalization and protocols on free movement of goods and persons.

 

 

Conduct study on the potentials and challenges facing the private sector.

TORs for the consultants, consultancy report.

 

 

 

Trade fair held and areas for potential investment exposed.

Sensitization and awareness campaigns launched.

 

 

 

 

Strengths, weaknesses and challenges impacting on private sector investment promotion documented.

Frame work for the holding of the trade fair.

 

 

 

 

New proposals for investment.

 

 

 

Trade facilitated and promoted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investment climate and incentives enhanced.

Recorded increase in private sector interest in investing in sub region.

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

  MRU Secretariat, Consultants, Member States

 

 

 

 

Private sector, Member States, MRU Secretariat.

 

 

MRU Secretariat, media, local artists, Member States

 

 

 

 

 

MRU Secretariat, Member States, Consultants

 

 

250,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

75,000

3.6 Infrastructure Prepare documentation to facilitate holding of donors meeting to mobilize resources for the construction of priority connectivity roads within the sub region.

 

Sign MoU between MRU Secretariat and the WAPP

Donor support secured to construct the roads.

 

 

 

 

 

Support for hydro power development secured.

Contracts signed with construction firms for the construction of roads.

Construction works initiated.

 

 

Regular dialogue with WAPP.

Monitoring and implementation of WAPP programme in the sub region by MRU.

X      

 

 

 

X

  50,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25,000

 

Pillar IV Social Development

 

4.1 Health Formulate programme to support Member States in providing health care delivery services to residents in border areas to address pandemic or infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria, TB and Lassa Fever as well issues related to maternal and infant mortality, immunization programme and diarrhea.

 

Develop and secure approval for a sub regional health policy.

Sub regional health concerns identified to be addressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sub regional health policy.

Framework for addressing concerns.

Projects formulated to address the concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooperation in addressing health matters.

  X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

  Member States, MRU Secretariat, development partners 500,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.2 Education Formulate a sub regional policy on education.

 

Construct bilingual primary schools in regions of need along the borders along with required curricula.

Sub regional education policy.

 

 

Areas identified and school construction initiated.

Policy operational.

 

 

 

Scholl going children in the areas having access to schools.

  X X

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

X

  50,000

 

 

 

250,000

4.3 Women and Children Monitor, lend support and coordinate the implementation of the sub regional action plan on UN resolutions 1325 and 1820.

 

Support and facilitate the representation of women in political decision-making and positions at all levels.

Legal and institutional structures in place.

Support projects formulated and implemented.

 

A minimum of 30% representation attained in all member states

Gender mainstreamed in national and sub regional development programmes.

 

 

Percentage of women in positions of authority and decision-making.

  X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Member States, MRU Secretariat, civil society, media, development partners 1,000,000
                     

 

 

Bibliography

 

  1. Declaration and Consolidated Protocols of the Mano River Union (MRU)

 

  1. Documentation on projects and programmes of the MRU

 

  1. Communiqués of Statutory Meetings of the MRU and Mini-Summits

 

  1. Reports on technical/commission meetings of the Union 

 

  1. Liberia’s 2006 National Human Development Report

 

  1. Poverty reduction Strategy Papers of the Four Member States

 

  1. UNCTAD (2007) Least Developed Countries Report

 

  1. State of Human rights in Sierra Leone 2007

 

  1. UNDP (2009) Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development, Human Development Report

 

  1. The growth triangle scoping study report on the adaptation of the concept in the MRU. Prepared by Dr. Kojo Asiedu and Funded by UNDP/Liberia, 2010

 

  1. West Africa Mineral Sector Strategic Assessment report prepared by the WB

 

  1. Scoping reports on the West Africa power pool

 

  1. Commodity booms in Sub-Saharan Africa (Senior policy seminar IX report)

 

  1. UNICEF (2008) The state of Africa’s children

 

[1] “Growth areas/Growth triangles” or “sub-regional economic zones” are less formal associations of two or more nations or more commonly sub-regions (districts, counties, provinces) of nations, and are designed to promote regional economic cooperation.  Their primary purpose is to give a competitive edge in export production.  This is characteristically achieved through a combination of “market friendly” public sector policy interventions and private sector investments; both designed to capitalize on existing and latent economic complementarities and construct a comparative advantage for the area and promote the competitive advantages of enterprises located within that area.  In other words, they are “flexible” mechanisms that can be effectively used to promote development.  Of particular significance is the “centre – periphery” relationship and a certain bias towards the “periphery” in the concept in order to quicken the pace of economic integration and social cohesion (MRU Growth study, 2010, pp17)

[2] The four growth areas have been identified and are reflected on page 17 and a picture representation of the growth areas can be seen on page 38, annex II.

[3] See Annex V for a comparative analysis of the ECOWAS and MRU strategic plans showing areas of synergy and supporting the proposition that MRU can serve as an implementing arm of ECOWAS.

[4] The role of ECOWAS in fostering economic integration in West Africa is already significant and at an advantaged position. MRU will therefore support the work of ECOWAS by serving as an implementing arm for the sub-region.

[5] The peace and security and the implementation of the growth triangle/growth area approach have been clearly elaborated in this plan. MRU serving as an implementing arm for ECOWAS needs further reflection and elaboration in the three-year review of this plan. The proposed strategy must present a clear delineation of responsibilities with ECOWAS and show the complementarities. If MRU is to act as an implementation arm of the ECOWAS, it must focus on building its capacity to do so.

 

[6] Even though in the past years debt burden is being lightened due to Member States’ participation in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

[7] See annex 1 for a more detailed presentation of socio-economic indicators in MRU countries.

[8] The government of Liberia, with support from UNDP commissioned an exploratory study on possible adaptation of the growth triangle/growth area concept in the MRU. The study identified the mentioned four growth areas. The results of the study were extensively discussed at a review meeting of the MRU strategic action plan in Liberia in November 2010 and a decision was reached to integrate results of the growth study in the MRU strategic plan. The growth area study of the MRU examines each of the proposed growth areas for economic complementarity, capacity for inter-regional trade and investment, assessed the opportunities and challenges in each GA, gave examples of successful GA cases in Asia and Africa, leading to the conclusion that the proposed areas have a role in ensuring sub-regional economic integration and maintaining peace and security.

[9] The border regions of MRU countries suffer disproportionately from lack of development, exposed and vulnerable to illicit activities and lawlessness (MRU growth study)

[10] See Wadley and Parasati (2000) Inside South East Asia’s growth triangles, Geography, Vol 85

[11] The Heads of MRU States and Government, in May 2008, at a Summit Meeting in Monrovia, Liberia, and later at a Mini-Summit in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 10 December 2008 identified the four focus areas for the MRU secretariat.

 

[12] The strategy was developed by Ministers of agriculture upon the request of Union’s Heads of states, in 2008.

[13] A strategy for the establishment of the food security Hub has been prepared with the support of FAO.

[14] See the figure below on mineral clusters in the MRU member countries. The figure is obtained from the 2010 World Bank study on West Africa Mineral Sector Strategic Assessment (WAMSSA).

[15] With funding from the World Bank, the MRU countries, through the Secretariat guided the work of a consultant to undertake a mineral sector-focused strategic environmental and social assessment – the West Africa Mineral Strategic Assessment – with the aim of identifying the regional policy, institutional and regulatory adjustments required for optimizing the mineral sector contribution to sustainable development in West Africa. This assessment, outlined challenges related to lack of adequate geological information on deposits; laws, policy and regulatory differences which require harmonization; low capacity to manage the sector; limited transparency and accountability, poor infrastructure; and limited qualified goods and service providers.

[16] A three days business forum was held in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire in October 2009. The forum provided the platform for the identification of sectors and areas that could attract investment and promote trade. Areas identified by the forum include infrastructure (rail network, roads, air, and water), agriculture with focus on food safety, mineral sector, fishery, energy sectors and tourism.

[17] A concept note of the project has been prepared and the sectoral priorities of this project include improvement of the management frame of the basin, preservation of the environment and the ecosystems of the basin, enhanced value of the water resources through the development of the socio-economic infrastructures and reinforcement of the capacities and implication of the parties

[18] The possibility exists for south-east Liberia to benefit from the excess power from the Cote d’Ivoire by constructively engaging in dialogue that would enable Liberia to have a link on the 225kva grid. This access will attract investment and speed up socio-economic development south east Liberia which has great investment potential. This region is one of the areas identified as growth areas/growth triangle.

[19] Sierra Leone has identified the key roads to effectively link Guinea and Liberia. Additionally, those to effectively link Liberia, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire will be identified and agreed upon.

[20] Collaboration will be sought in extending the UNICEF supported bilingual (French and English) border schools.

 

 

 

MANO RIVER UNION (MRU) SECRETARIAT

 

 

 

 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN 2010-2020

 

 

 

 

 

SIERRA

LEONE

 

 

 

 

 

Vision: Ensure the establishment of a peaceful, stable and prosperous sub region.

 

 

——— DECEMBER 2011, Freetown, Sierra Leone ———

 

 

Table of Contents

 

List of Figures. iii

Acronyms. iv

Foreword. v

Preface. vi

Acknowledgements. vii

SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION.. 1

1.1 About the plan. 1

1.2 The MRU: Legal and Institutional framework. 4

1.2.1 Background. 4

1.2.2 Aims and Objectives of the Union. 4

1.2.3 The Institutions of the Mano River Union and their Functions. 5

1.3 The context 7

1.3.1 Challenges and opportunities of sub-regional integration and value addition of MRU   7

1.3.2 Development context in the MRU: challenges and opportunities. 9

1.3.2.1 Current Challenges Facing the Sub-region. 9

1.3.2.2 Inherent Opportunities/Potentials of the Sub-region. 12

SECTION 2: REVIEW OF PAST PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES                                    13

2.1        Review of Previous Work. 13

2.2        Past Projects/Programmes of the Union. 13

2.3 Immediate Post Conflict /Pre-Strategic Plan Period. 14

2.3 Challenges in implementing past programmes. 16

SECTION 3: STRATEGIC FOCUS OF 10-YEAR ACTION PLAN.. 17

Strategy for addressing the development challenges. 17

3.1 The MRU Secretariat’s Focus. 17

SECTION 4: IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND REPORTING.. 32

4.1 Implementation Arrangements. 32

4.3 Guiding Principles for implementation of strategic plan. 33

4.4        Monitoring and Evaluation. 34

SECTION 5: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS. 35

5.1 CONCLUSIONS  35

5.2 RECOMMENDATIONS. 35

ANNEXES                                                                                                                                  376

Annex I: Socio-economic Indicators in MRU countries                                                    377

Annex II: A map of the sub-region showing the growth triangles                                 398

Annex III: Matrix of ongoing and planned projects and programmes                          39

Annex IVa: Implementation Plan for the MRU Strategic Plan for 2012                        46

Annex IVb: Implementation Plan for the MRU Strategic Plan  for 2013.

Annex IVc: Implementation Plan for the MRU Strategic Plan 2014

Bibliography. 64

List of Figures

Figure 1: Adult Literacy and life expectancy at birth in MRU countries in 2010. 11

Figure 2: Poverty levels and annual GDP growth rates in MRU countries in 2009. 11

Figure 3:  Access to safe drinking water and sanitation in MRU Countries. 11

Figure 4: MRU Strategic Plan Pillars. 18

Figure 5: Location of Sub-Regional Mining Infrastructure cluster opportunities. 25

 

 

Acronyms   +

 

ACBF               Africa Capacity Building Foundation
AfDB African Development Bank
AU African Union
WECARD/CORAF West and central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development
DECLARATION            Declaration of the Mano River Union
DSG     Deputy Secretary General
ECA     Economic Commission for Africa
ECOWAS         Economic Community of West African States
EU European Union
FAO     Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
GDP                 Gross Domestic Product
GIMPA            Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration
ILO                   International Labour Organization
JICA Japan International Cooperation Agency
MRU                Mano River Union
NGO                Non Governmental Organization
PMU                Project Management Unit
SG                    Secretary General
UMC    Union Ministerial Council
UN       United Nations System
UNDP              United Nations Development Programme
UNFPA            United Nations Fund for Population Activities
UNIDO             United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNOWA          United Nations Office for West Africa
USAID  United States Agency for International Development
US        Union Secretariat
UTC Union Technical Commissions
WB                  World Bank
WFP                World Food Programme
WHO World Health Organization
YEN Youth Employment Network

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreword

 

O

n behalf of the leadership of the Union, I must say that the preparation of this strategic action plan is a step in the right direction. The countries of the Union, especially Liberia and Sierra Leone, have gone through years of turmoil with devastating consequences. The La Cote D’Ivoire’s post elections conflict has left social, political and economic scars that will take time, fortitude and national resolve and reconciliation to address.  Today, the visible and yet undesirable scars left by the wars are evident everywhere. Particularly visible are the plight and deprivation of the majority. This is even more glaring for the youth who are not only unemployed but have no skills to secure jobs or engage in productive endeavours. The economies are shattered and require resuscitation. Basic social services are limited and in many cases unaffordable. The infrastructure is very poor, with the countries in the sub region faring low on the Africa infrastructure index, thus posing serious challenges to free movement, trade and overall pursuit of development within the sub region. Additionally, the debt burden is limiting the ability of countries to secure needed support from the international community.

 

This plan sets the context in which the Member States find themselves, the daunting challenges they face, and the framework within which common problems can be addressed with a view to ensuring peace and stability, socio-economic development and integration in the interest of the peoples of the Union.

 

While it is not possible to adequately address the daunting challenges during the plan period, the strategic areas selected for project and programme formulation and implementation if effectively pursued, will provide the platform for sustained development and integration thus meaningfully contributing to poverty reduction and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

 

We implore the Secretariat to take full advantage of the opportunities nationally and internationally available to ensure the effective and efficient pursuance of the objectives of the plan in the interest and the well-being of our citizens.

 

On behalf of my colleagues, I want to extend sincere thanks to the Secretariat and all partners who have supported the preparation of this plan. It is my hope that the desired support from our partners will be secured not only for the formulation of the projects/programmes but for their full implementation.

 

May God guide and bless the work of our hands and save our common heritage.

 

 

Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

President of the Republic of Liberia and

Chairperson of the MRU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preface

A

 strategic plan provides a concrete road map for the conduct of activities geared towards the attainment of stated objectives of an institution or organization. For the Mano River Union, pursuing the objectives of this three-year strategic plan is vital for setting the desired platform for sustainable development in the Mano River basin taking into consideration the post conflict setting and the challenges the sub-region faces.

 

Between 1989 and 2003, Liberia and Sierra Leone went through very devastating civil conflicts leaving in their aftermath shattered political, governance and social systems and facilities; economies, and infrastructure at all levels. Poverty, which was a serious challenge for the countries, was magnified and entrenched thus posing further threat to peace and security recognizing the level of involvement of youth in the conflicts, and who now have nothing to fall back on for sustained survival. 

 

In Côte d’Ivoire, although the civil conflict was not as devastating as those in Liberia and Sierra Leone, it has further polarized the country, caused setbacks to national development and now poses governance challenges with consequences on peace and stability for the sub-region.

 

Although Guinea was able to contain and prevent a rebel incursion, the country has had to cope with serious influx of refugees from all three countries putting stress on already inadequate facilities required for daily survival especially within the host communities.

 

This plan provides an analysis of the situation in the sub-region, outlining critical development challenges that need to be addressed and mapping out priority areas of focus which when addressed will create the desired environment for the promotion and sustenance of peace, socio-economic development and economic integration.

 

In the implementation framework of this plan, I as Secretary-General would like to emphasize on the need for efficiency, effectiveness and visibility, as well as the forging of the right partnerships to enable us achieve the Union’s noble objectives. These are my mandate and ambition.

 

I ask for the support of all as we take on these important challenges.

 

 

Haja Dr. Saran Daraba Kaba

Secretary General

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

O

n behalf of the Secretariat, I would like to first and foremost extend our deep appreciation and gratitude to the Leaders of the Union for their foresight, dedication and commitment not only for ensuring the survival of the Union under very trying circumstances, but their guidance and support which made it possible for us to prepare such a short to medium-term strategic plan.

 

To the Ministers directly responsible for the affairs of the Union in the Member States, as well as those who have played key roles in technical and thematic meetings geared towards providing desired direction for the activities of the Union, we express very sincere thanks for your unwavering commitment, support and sacrifices.

 

To our partners, especially those that have contributed to the preparation of this plan, we extend our sincere thanks and gratitude for believing in our vision and sharing our burden. We hope that the partnership will be sustained and strengthened.

 

To our in-house advisers, professionals and support staff of the Secretariat we extend out thanks and appreciation for your devotion to duty in the cause of the Union.

 

 

 

SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 About the plan

 

T

he Mano River Union three-year Strategic Plan is being prepared at a critical period in the life of the Secretariat and the Member States. The sub region has gone through a protracted period of conflict with negative consequences on the political, social and economic structures and systems. Development has been strangled and poverty is entrenched. Under such conditions, security is a serious challenge because hungry populations are angry populations with such anger having the propensity to result in violence. Full restoration and sustenance of peace, security and stability is fundamental to laying the true and solid foundation for sustainable socio-economic growth and development. Africa as a whole has been making progress in economic growth albeit rather slowly in the last three years even in the face of the global financial, food and fuel crises.

 

Over the years, increased economic growth and progress in Africa and especially among MRU Member States has not translated into improved quality of life for the vast majority of the population in these countries. This highlights the importance of instituting and practicing good governance so as to create the enabling environment for accelerated poverty reducing economic growth.

 

In a world experiencing increasing globalization, working in silos as a single country breeds a host of challenges. This justifies the original mandate of the MRU–to enhance sub-regional cooperation in promoting economic integration. With recent political, social, economic and security developments in the sub-region, strategic and innovative interventions are required for the achievement of sub-regional socio-economic development and integration.

 

The MRU States collectively are richly endowed with huge natural resources with deposits of minerals contributing greatly to such endowments. The sustainable exploitation of these natural resources and in particular value addition will enhance economic development in the sub-region. This will also create job opportunities for populations within the Union. With a visionary, well-capacitated Secretariat to coordinate these activities, the potential for sub-regional economic integration is immense.

 

With this background, the MRU Secretariat prepared this three year strategic plan to be implemented in collaboration with relevant institutions and partners in Member States. The overriding principle in the implementation of the plan is the adoption of the “growth triangles/growth areas” concept[1] by which all activities (economic, peace and security, and social development) implemented through the Secretariat will cover more than one of the MRU Member States. In particular, activities within border regions[2] – areas often most disadvantaged due to lack of development and prone to illegal activities that act as a major source for conflict – will receive prominence in plan implementation. These regions are often far from the “centers of power”—receiving less attention, but remain significant and strategic in ensuring economic integration and maintaining peace and security within the sub-region.

 

The added-value of the MRU through the implementation of this strategic action plan will be the:

  1. Adoption of a sub-regional approach in ensuring the maintenance of peace and security within the sub-region;
  2. Implementation of the growth triangle concept in selected growth areas around border regions of Member States; and
  3. Serving as an implementing arm for selected ECOWAS programmes in the four countries[3].

 

To achieve the MRU goals of economic integration, ensuring socio-economic development and maintaining peace and security within the sub-region, this plan provides the strategic direction and framework to guide the MRU Secretariat’s operations and support activities over the next three years and beyond. It capitalizes on emerging opportunities from peace dividends enjoyed by Member States. Integrated strategic planning is not new to the MRU Secretariat; however, the Secretariat’s programme implementation has suffered as a result of protracted civil conflict and political unrest in Member States. The plan, therefore, aims to build on the Secretariat’s successes before the eruption of conflict in the sub-region and on strategic activities implemented in the recent past.

 

This strategic plan will not only serve as a key development and integration instrument for the next three years but will position the MRU Secretariat in defining and realizing the Secretariat’s longer-term contribution to economic integration in the sub-region. The plan aligns the Secretariat’s activities to Member States poverty reduction strategies with a fundamental goal of poverty reduction. It indicates how the Secretariat intends to direct and execute its activities to ensure maximum contribution to economic growth, economic integration, and sustaining peace and security within and among Member States. The plan also aims to strengthen the Secretariat’s institutional effectiveness in readiness for playing the coordination role for sub-regional economic integration.[4]

 

The plan has been prepared over a period of two years. The draft strategic plan was formally accepted at the 24th April 2010 Summit in Conakry, Guinea. Upon acceptance, the plan was reviewed by representatives of Member States, development partners, civil society organizations and members of the press in Monrovia from 1-3 November 2010. The review meeting in Monrovia provided valuable comments and recommendations. Also at the Monrovia review meeting, a study supported by UNDP-Liberia at the request of this country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs on exploring the possible adaptation of the “growth triangle/growth area” concept in the MRU was presented. Through this meeting, comments and recommendations on the draft plan and findings of the growth triangle/growth area study were decided to be integrated in finalizing the MRU strategic action plan. The UNDP regional office in Dakar, Senegal recruited a consultant to support the MRU Secretariat in finalizing the strategic action plan and to prepare a promotional plan for the strategy. The draft plan was presented to the Union Ministerial Council (UMC) and Summit of heads of State and Government in July 2011 in Monrovia and endorsed with the recommendation that a three-year strategic plan be prepared and costed for implementation. This plan is now geared towards fulfilling that mandate.

 

Accordingly, the strategic plan is organized as follows:

 

  • Section I continues from the introduction to the presentation of the MRU legal and institutional framework. This includes the background to the formation of the Union, its aims and objectives, and the various institutions and their functions. This section further highlights the major challenges and opportunities facing the MRU and the strategy for addressing the challenges as well as outlining the value addition of the MRU. The challenges and opportunities in the development context of Member States are also outlined.

 

  • Section II reviews past work of the MRU highlighting important initiatives taken in the past, including successes and failures, and presents the status of ongoing projects and programmes. Included in the review is the MRU’s work in the areas of post and telecommunications, forestry, customs and excise, infrastructure development (Mano River bridge, Air Mano, roads, etc.), maritime, Union Glass Factory, provision of small mills, scholarship programmes, and research and studies.

 

  • Section III describes the operational priorities of the MRU three-year strategic plan. This section outlines the strategic pillars of the three-year strategic plan, including each pillar’s objectives and the strategies to be adopted to achieve them.

 

  • Section IV presents the implementation strategy for the plan and describes the monitoring and reporting framework for the plan including the need and importance of partnerships.
  • Section V concludes the plan by highlighting some key conclusions including the state in which the MRU will be following the three-year implementation period, and recommendations that should support the full implementation of the three-year strategic plan.

 

  • Annexes to the strategic plan further detail ongoing and planned projects and programmes and an implementation plan for the MRU Secretariat’s activities for the plan period with detailed costing.

 

 

 

1.2 The MRU: Legal and Institutional framework

1.2.1 Background

Through the visionary leadership of His Excellency Siaka P. Stevens, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and His Excellency William R. Tolbert, Jr. President of the Republic of Liberia, the Mano River Union (MRU) was established on October 3, 1973 through a DECLARATION signed by the two Presidents in Malema Town in Pujehun District, Sierra Leone. The Declaration took into consideration the need to establish a firm foundation for lasting peace, friendship, freedom and social progress, as well as advancement of economic growth and cultural advancement through collaboration between the two countries within the framework of a Customs Union. The then People’s Revolutionary Republic of Guinea joined the Union on 25 October 1980, transforming the Union into a three-country instrument for multi-lateral cooperation for sustainable development. The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, which indicated interest in joining the Union and had been attending Union meetings as an observer since 2004, formally acceded to the Union on 15 May 2008.

 

1.2.2 Aims and Objectives of the Union

 

The aims and objectives of the Union are to:

  • the expansion of international Expand trade by the elimination of all barriers to mutual trade; by cooperation in trade; by the creation of conditions favorable to an expansion of mutual productive capacity, including the progressive development of a common protective policy and cooperation in the creation of new productive capacity; 
  • Secure a fair distribution of the benefits from economic cooperation;
  • The aims and objectives were expanded through the fourth protocol (1980) to incorporate areas of economic activity particularly in commerce, industry, transport and communications, agriculture, natural resources, financial and monetary matters.

 

The first steps in pursuance of these objectives were:                                                         

  • Liberalization of mutual trade in goods of local origin, through the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to such trade;
  • Harmonization of rates of import duties and other fiscal incentives applicable to goods of local origin, in order to ensure fair trading conditions and a harmonized  protective policy for local producers; and
  • Supporting measures, as necessary, for developing cooperation in the production of agricultural and manufactured products of local origin.

 

1.2.3 The Institutions of the Mano River Union and their Functions

 

In furtherance of the objectives of the Union, the following institutions were established:

  • The Union Summit of Heads of State and Government which is the supreme institution of the Union;
  • The Union Ministerial Council;
  • The Union Technical Commissions;
  • The Union Secretariat; and
  • Such other organizations, bodies, departments and services as are provided for by the Mano River Declaration and its protocols as amended or by resolutions of the Union Ministerial Council. 

 

The Union Summit of Heads of State and Government

The Union Summit of Heads of State and Government is the supreme institution of the Union. The Summit shall convene as and when deemed necessary to deal with matters submitted to it by the Union Ministerial Council.

 

The Union Ministerial Council

The Union Ministerial Council comprises Ministers responsible for Planning, Development, Economic Cooperation, Finance, Education, Trade, Industry, Agriculture, Transport, Communications, Energy, Natural Resources and Works in the Member States. Other Ministers of Member States may attend Meetings of the Council when matters of interest to them are on the agenda. The Union Ministerial Council shall:

  • Ensure the proper functioning and development of the Union in conformity with the provisions of the Mano River Declaration and its Protocols as amended;
  • Give directives to all subordinate institutions of the Union through the Secretariat so as to ensure the efficient and harmonious working of the Union;
  • Make recommendations to the Union Summit of Heads of State and Government on matters of policy designed to effect the efficient and harmonious functioning and development of the Union;
  • Establish financial policies, procedures, rules and regulations which shall govern the handling of the finances of the Union including but not limited to budget procedures, expenditures and arrangements for auditing;
  • Consider and approve the Annual Budget of the Union including but not limited to the Union Training and Research Establishments and to determine the contributions of each Member State thereto;
  • Authorize the Secretariat or any other subordinate institution to negotiate in all areas of cooperation with Member States, third countries and international organizations or institutions with the view to implementing the aims and objectives of the Mano River Union; and
  • Execute such other functions as the Union Summit of Heads of State and Government may from time to time direct.

 

The Union Ministerial Council shall be headed by a Chairman and three Vice Chairpersons who will be elected on a rotational basis so that each country has the same chance to assume leadership. The Council shall hold its Ordinary Session once a year. On the decision of the Chairman and in consultation with the Vice Chairpersons and the Secretary General, Special Sessions will be convened as and when necessary.

 

The decisions of the Union Ministerial Council shall be by consensus and such decisions shall be resolutions which:

  • Make recommendations to the Union Summit of Heads of State and Government;
  • Make recommendations to Member States for certain actions to be taken;
  • Give directives to the Secretariat and other subordinate Institutions.

 

Technical Commissions of the Union

Technical Commissions were proposed to be established with responsibilities in the respective areas/sectors below:

  • Trade and Industry;
  • Agriculture, Forestry and fisheries;
  • Transport and communications;
  • Education, Training and Research;
  • Finance and administration; and
  • Energy and Natural Resources.

 

The Commissions shall comprise Officials of Governments and Professionals designated by the Member States. They will examine issues relative to their respective fields on their initiative, upon directive of the Union Ministerial Council or at the request of the Secretary General. The Commissions shall meet at least once a year but may hold Special meetings as and when necessary based on the outcome of technical consultations or requests from Member States.

 

The signing of the Fifteenth Protocol on Defense, Security, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs on 9 May 2000 which provided for the establishment of a Joint Security Committee now requires the establishment of a Commission on Peace and Security.

 

The Mano River Union Secretariat

The Union Secretariat is the technical and administrative instrument through which the Union pursues its noble objectives. The Secretariat, in collaboration with the institutions of the Union and with support from donors and development partners, prepares strategic plans for the Union; oversee the formulation of projects and programmes in support of the plan as well as their implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on activities undertaken; plans for and facilitate the holding of meetings of the institutions of the Union; approve projects and programmes in support of the objectives of the Union; represent the Union at various fora geared towards the political, social and economic development of the sub-region; and mobilizes resources in support of projects and programmes for the Union.

 

The Secretariat is headed by a Secretary General (the Principal Executive officer of the MRU) supported by three Deputies who are nominated and appointed by their respective Heads of State and Government to serve for four years with possibility to serve a second term based on recommendation from the Union Ministerial Council. The Secretary General shall be a national of a Member State other than that in which the Headquarters is located while the Deputies shall be national of Member States other than that of the Secretary General. One of the Deputies shall serve as the Budget and Finance Comptroller as well as oversee administrative matters while the other two Deputies will manage the programme areas of the Union. This is to ensure equitable distribution of statutory posts to Member States.

 

At the professional level, Programme Officers (one from each country) will be recruited by the Secretary General on a competitive basis to head various programme areas. A Finance and Administrative Officer will be recruited to support the work of the Budget and Financial Comptroller. Required professional, technical and administrative staff will be recruited to support the work of the Secretariat. The appointment and recruitment processes to fill the various positions approved by the Summit in May 2008 in Monrovia were completed in 2009 to enable the Secretariat to have basic capacity to effectively deliver on its mandate.

 

Ad Hoc Committees and Working groups comprising of Government Officials and Professional from Member States, shall be instituted by the Secretary General as and when necessary to address various concerns of the Union. Liaison Officers shall be appointed by Member States upon the request of the Union Ministerial Council in respect of specific projects and programmes and shall cooperate with the Secretariat in the execution of mandates given them.

 

The Secretariat shall establish Sub-Offices in the Member States of Liberia, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire to effectively support the work of the Secretariat. The Sub-Offices will be manned by Coordinators and supported by Administrative Assistants and drivers all of whom will be recruited on competitive basis.

 

1.3 The context

1.3.1 Challenges and opportunities of sub-regional integration and value addition of MRU

The importance and relevance of the MRU in light of other regional organizations require deep reflection and strategic direction to show how it adds value to the economic development of the Union. Even though the MRU existed before the formation of ECOWAS, which holds similar objectives, the dominance of the latter in regional integration in the past decades, especially when the sub region was in conflict, is widely noted. In this context, this sub-section describes the specific value that MRU will add in ensuring regional integration in the sub-region that enhances further regional integration at the West Africa level. Apart from ECOWAS, other notable bodies in the sub-region and across the continent of Africa working on similar issues of economic integration include the African Union, African Development Bank, New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), Economic Commission of Africa (ECA), United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), South African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC). All these organizations offer different programmes and support to individual countries with the aim of ensuring economic integration and maintaining peace and security. Also, with the exception of ECOWAS covering 15 countries, the other organizations work on continent-wide economic integration – a wide-spanning focus that does not guarantee specific attention on MRU countries.

 

The special niche of the MRU lies in the characteristics of the four countries that constitute the Union. The history, socio-cultural and economic ties, the common development challenges, and the need for collaboration in fostering such ties and addressing these challenges, inspired the founding fathers of Sierra Leone and Liberia to form the MRU. The joining of Guinea and later Cote d’Ivoire to the Union justified the rationale for the establishment of the Union. The civil conflicts and their effects in the sub-region seriously tested the resolve and commitment of the Member States and their leadership to the survival of the Union. The continued existence of the Union and current strides for its revival so as to more meaningfully contribute to the recovery, growth and development of the Member States clearly demonstrates the value attached to it by Member States.

 

The establishment of the MRU, the near collapse of the Union as a result of protracted conflict in Member States and current efforts to revitalize the MRU are justified by the need for peace and security and economic development in the sub-region. The following considerations or factors underscore the continued validity of the MRU:

 

  • Awareness and realization of the fact that the efforts required for economic take-off, sustaining peace and security, and ensuring socio-economic development in the sub-region are so intertwined that they cannot be left to independent national efforts.

 

  • Most of the countries of the MRU independently possess small markets which can lead to disproportional benefits from globalization compared to the medium size combined market (about 42 million inhabitants in the sub region) that can be created as a result of sub-regional integration.

 

  • Also, capacities (financial as well as human) in the individual countries are limited and have been negatively affected by conflict in the sub-region. Pooling human and financial resources from the four countries will ensure improved and sustained results.

 

  • Finally, additional growth opportunities could be unlocked through the application of the growth triangle/growth area concept to the exploitation and management of important share of the rich natural resource endowments and complimentary resources in the MRU and trans-boundary development challenges.

 

In summary, the value that will be added by the MRU through implementation of this initial post conflict three-year strategic plan will be the maintenance of peace and security in the sub-region, implementing the growth triangle/growth area approach, and acting as an implementing arm of the ECOWAS.[5]

 

With the points above, the need for an organization or coordinating body to ensure the implementation of programmes and projects among the four countries in the sub-region is apparent. The harnessing and sustainable use and management of the natural endowments of the sub-region require a sub-region approach which can only be led by the MRU with the ECOWAS providing desired regional direction, leadership and support. ECOWAS is strong, large and plays a significant role in economic integration, maintaining peace and security in West Africa. But it also covers 15 countries and can thus be over-stretched at times. MRU can therefore serve as an implementing arm for ECOWAS with regards to the four countries without duplicating efforts.

1.3.2 Development context in the MRU: challenges and opportunities

 

1.3.2.1 Current Challenges Facing the Sub-region

 

The development challenges facing the Member States of the MRU, although varying in extent and magnitude, are manifested by the following:

    • Political: Centralization of power and poor quality of governance; marginalization of the majority and their lack of participation in national affairs with women, disadvantaged groups and youth being the most affected; legal system at the disadvantage of the less privileged and human rights abuses.
    • Economic: Ineffective economic laws, policies, structures and systems; unattractive investment climate; limited opportunities for self development and advancement; poor quality of labor force; unemployment; low incomes; entrenched corruption and poor living standards; limited trade/commerce systems and structures in countries and within the sub-region.
    • Social: Poor health infrastructure and ineffective health delivery systems; prevalence of infectious and communicable diseases which take a large toll on the populations; low access to and quality of education; limited access to safe drinking water for the majority.
    • Infrastructure: Air, sea and land transport infrastructure poor and many areas in the respective countries not accessible including difficulty in moving from one country to the other; Communications infrastructure inadequate and access limited to a few. Access and affordability of energy and power to the populations is still a serious challenge in the sub-region although the natural potential is great. This also poses serious challenges to national and sub-regional development.
    • Security: The conflicts in the sub-region have had negative effects on peace and security. The sub-region is now considered insecure and the peace is fragile. Building and sustaining peace is vital.
    • Debt burden: These countries are faced with unsustainable debt burdens that are counterproductive to the pursuance of national and sub-regional development objectives.[6]

 

The protracted civil conflicts in the sub-region devastated every sector of the economies of Liberia and Sierra Leone with spillover effects in Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire. The pervasive poverty was compounded by increased levels of illiteracy and ignorance. Additionally, maternal and child mortality have shown drastic increases due to destruction and neglect of required social facilities and services. The fragile security environment has negatively impacted foreign direct investment thus hampering the speed of recovery, rehabilitation and development. Education, maternal and child health in particular has seen major investments in the last years following countries’ strive to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Recent statistics begin to show improvements in these indicators. Also investment, especially in the mineral sectors of Member States is beginning to show some improvements.

 

During the conflict years, the youth were particularly disadvantaged especially as they were used not only as instruments of war but were also denied education and skills to demand work or be self employed. Taking into consideration that they are now adults and responsible for families, failure to provide them with job opportunities is a recipe for renewed disaster in the sub-region. An added effect of the conflicts is increased criminality as manifested by the proliferation and trade in small arms and light weapons, drugs and child trafficking, smuggling and sexual and gender-based violence. The overall impact is that the states of the sub-region, except for Cote d’Ivoire, are now the least developed and therefore rank among the low human development countries according to the UN Human Development reports.

 

The figures below[7] provide indicators on parameters which demonstrate the daunting development challenges facing the sub-region, as well as buttress the nature and magnitude of poverty in the Member States.

 

Figure 1: Adult Literacy and life expectancy at birth in MRU countries in 2010

   

 

           

 

 

 

Figure 2: Poverty levels and annual GDP growth rates in MRU countries in 2009

      

 

 

   

Figure 3: : Access to safe drinking water and sanitation in MRU Countries

 

 

 

 

The sub-region faces challenges related to the restoration of democratic governance, restoring and sustaining peace and security, the pursuit of economic and social development to reduce poverty and contribute to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The global increase in food prices in 2008 as well as the increases in the price of crude oil further constrains the resource capacities of the countries (importers of these vital commodities) to effectively pursue their development aspirations.

 

1.3.2.2 Inherent Opportunities/Potentials of the Sub-region

 

Even in the face of the above daunting challenges, the sub-region has inherent natural potential which if developed and harnessed properly can bring about the desired socio-economic development that contributes to the well-being and welfare of the citizens on a sustainable basis. Prominent among these opportunities are:

 

  • The sub-region has about 42 million persons with youth and children constituting between 50-60 percent of the population. With their latent potential and the possibility to serve as future leaders, they have the capacity to bring about positive transformation of their communities and society at large. Developing youth potential is critical to such transformation.

 

  • The sub-region is blessed with significant natural resource endowments comprising minerals including iron ore, diamonds, gold and bauxite; untapped oil deposits; forests with associated biodiversity of national and global value; abundant water resources with high energy potential that would support development in all sectors and their sources serving as bedrock for rivers serving the West African region; and large hectares of productive soils. These natural resources cross national boundaries and are found in clusters traversing two or three countries in the sub-region. These endowments make the sub-region a fertile ground for foreign direct investment once good governance prevails with associated laws and procedures to attract such investment.

 

  • The Member States’ strong cultural, tribal/ethnic, traditional and economic ties predate their existence as nation-states – characteristics that need to be formalized and strengthened so as to more meaningfully contribute to the overall development and integration of the sub-region.

 

  • The nature, spread and impact of civil conflicts in the sub-region clearly show that security cannot be considered as a problem that should be tackled at the national level alone. Insecurity has become more of a sub-regional matter and should be addressed within that framework. Cote d’Ivoire’s accession to the Union was primarily prompted by security considerations.

SECTION II: REVIEW OF PAST PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES

 

2.1       Review of Previous Work

F

rom the creation of the MRU and its implementation arm, the Secretariat, up to the eruption of conflict in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the Union’s founding countries, implemented programmes included those in manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, customs and excise, research and scholarship promotion. Notable among these were the Union Glass factory, preliminary work on Air Mano to ease air transportation among Member States, road construction, building of the Mano River Bridge, provision of small mills to support increased agricultural productivity in the oil palm sub sector, provision of scholarships to students, and conducting new research and studies.

 

2.2       Past Projects/Programmes of the Union

 

In pursuance of the objectives of the Union, the Secretariat embarked on the design and implementation of programmes in the areas of Posts and Telecommunications, Forestry, Customs and Excise, and Maritime. Institutions were established in these areas to support capacity building in the respective sectors, laid the basis for the harmonization of programmes and policies, facilitated communications and trade, as well as provided required direction for the sustainable exploitation and utilization of the natural resources.

 

The Union also provided scholarships to nationals to attend universities in Member States with a view to building capacity particularly in the public sector. This helped to enhance public sector performance in the Member States. Additionally, the Mano River Bridge linking Liberia and Sierra Leone was constructed and commissioned in 1976.

 

The Union further embarked on other important initiatives such as establishing industries (including the Union Glass Factory to produce bottles for Member States) to take full advantage of the natural resource potential and comparative advantage of Member States; laid the groundwork for the establishment of an airline (Air Mano) and sea links to facilitate travel between the Member States as well as in the West Africa sub-region; embarked on the provision of small mills to help expand production and processing of oil palm; constructed roads to facilitate movement of people as well as trade in response to the establishment of a Trans-African Highway; and conducted studies to sustainably ensure the provision of energy and power to the Member states.

 

Unfortunately, all these programmes and projects as well as new initiatives were either disrupted or significantly impacted by the civil conflicts. One of the most successful programmes of the MRU, the Union Glass Factory is no longer operational. All scholarship programmes have been halted. And in the-post conflict phase of the MRU countries, few programmes in the areas of HIV/AIDs, youth employment were implemented. A Mano River rice Programme is under implementation while programme formulation in the areas of water resources management and forest conservation are ongoing. Therefore, revitalization of the MRU and its Secretariat through the implementation of this plan is a step in the right direction.

2.3 Immediate Post Conflict /Pre-Strategic Plan Period

 

Social Development

 

With the difficult health situation, especially with regards to the spread of HIV/AIDS around border areas, a US$25 million programme on HIV/AIDS/STI was designed in 2004 for implementation in the border areas with focus on nine sites and submitted for funding under the Global Fund. Although the funding was not secured, the AfDB provided seed money (5 million UA) to implement a pilot phase under a three year period. The main components of the programme were:

  • Strengthening of HIV/AIDS/STI prevention, control and treatment;
  • Promotion of multi-sectoral and sub-regional coordination of HIV/AIDS/STI activities; and
  • Project management.

 

Programme Objectives were:

  • To help the sub-region meet goal six of the MDGs – to stop and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS; and
  • To specifically prevent the spread of new infections of HIV/AIDS/STI among refugees, internally displaced populations and their host communities.

 

The results attained as compiled in the final programme report and the report of the impact study conducted has been assessed by the AfDB to be one of the few sub-regional success stories. Beneficiary communities desired a continuation of the support as well as extension of its coverage. During the plan period, support will be secured to formulate and implement a second programme phase.

 

An economic programme was designed to help address the problem of unemployment relative to youth in the sub-region taking into consideration the war effects on the economies of Member States and the potential threat youth pose to peace and security especially noting their participation in the conflicts.

 

The target group includes:

  • Marginalized, poor urban and rural youth;
  • Youth who wish to start up a business or to become employed or improve community productivity;
  • Youth who already own a business and wish to expand.

 

The programme’s immediate objectives are to:

  • Support the engagement of the target group in productive and decent work in both urban and rural areas;
  • Create opportunities for productive and decent work and community productivity;
  • Improve or increase the services delivered by institutions involved in the creation of youth employment; and
  • Increase employment of youth in high demand areas in the private sector.

 

This programme started in 2009 with initial support provided by the Japanese Government. During the plan period, the required resources will be mobilized and requisite partnerships established to support full implementation of activities.

 

MRU will continue to pursue the formulation of a programme, with support by AfDB for the conservation of important ecological landscapes. The programme has three components – conservation of biodiversity; provision of livelihood opportunities to communities living in and around the landscapes; and support to capacity building at national levels, the MRU Secretariat and overall management of the programme.

 

Capacity Building

The training project financed by the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) aims to:

  • Train high-level senior civil servants and policy makers (600 persons for the project period). Most of the training will be done nationally using national and international experts and in selected institutions in the Africa region;
  • Equip senior civil servants with the operational, managerial and leadership skills needed to promote and lead change; and
  • Support the development of local training capacity and the development of comprehensive training delivery strategies (training programmes, curricula and materials).

 

The second project is focused on building capacity for negotiating and regulating investment and trade contracts so as to maximize benefits from the exploitation of the sub-region’s very rich natural resource endowments. The outcomes expected to be attained under this project are:

  • Foreign and domestic investment contracts negotiated on the most favorable terms for host countries;
  • A functioning sub-regional and regional networks for supporting countries involved in negotiations related to investments and natural resources exploitation;
  • Accountable and sustainable management of natural resources and revenue flows arising from their exploitation and particularly in support of pro-poor policies and programmes; and
  • A well-functioning knowledge management system put in place.

 

This project is managed by the UNDP Sub-regional Office in Dakar and is demand-driven – countries are required to formally request support under the project. Liberia and Sierra Leone currently benefit from support provided under the project. The MRU Secretariat will sensitize and facilitate action required for Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire to secure needed support under the project.

 

 

 

2.3 Challenges in implementing past programmes

 

Past programme implementation has not occurred without notable challenges in need of redressing for successful implementation of the current strategic action plan. Limited human and physical capital and lack of required financial resources are challenges that figure most prominently.

 

The Mano River Union Secretariat itself faces daunting challenges. All previous projects and programmes of the Union were either destroyed or completely vandalized during conflict years. Additionally, the Union Secretariat not only had its premises vandalized, but completely lost the required technical, human, logistical and administrative capacity to function effectively. This capacity challenge needs to be addressed if its mission ‘to plan, design and ensure implementation of projects and programmes to improve and sustain the well-being and living standards of the peoples of the sub-region’ is to be achieved.

SECTION III: STRATEGIC FOCUS OF THREE-YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN

 

Strategy for addressing the development challenges

 

T

aking into consideration the development challenges discussed in sub section 1.3.2, the governments of the sub-region, within the framework of their respective development agendas or Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), plan to address these development challenges from a poverty perspective through the pursuance of the strategic objectives outlined below:

    • Consolidate, improve and sustain economic growth;
    • Create and ensure access to opportunities for the growth and advancement of the poor and disadvantaged in society;
    • Improve governance and strengthen institutional and human capacity at all levels;
    • Develop and provide adequate and affordable social services;
    • Build and enhance required infrastructure to effectively support development and well-being of the residents; and
    • Consolidate and sustain peace and security in the sub-region.

 

3.1 The MRU Secretariat’s Focus

The Union Secretariat, the institution through which the MRU fulfills its mandate, will pursue the above objectives through a growth triangle/growth area approach with focus on common issues/concerns that undermine peace and socio-economic development with the broader ECOWAS mandate and agenda in view. In particular, the Secretariat will focus on strategic geographic locations within the MRU that will bring about benefits to all Member States and populations in such often forgotten regions. Specifically, this strategic plan will focus interventions on the following proposed growth areas[8], which cover all four countries of the MRU:

 

  • Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia growth area, covering South-east Liberia and South-West Côte d’Ivoire;
  • Liberia – Côte d’Ivoire-Eastern Forest-Guinea;
  • Eastern Sierra Leone-North-Western Liberia-Western Forest Guinea;
  • Southeast-Sierra Leone-South West Liberia-Coast line.

 

Growth triangle/growth area concept is also known as sub-regional economic zones and natural economic territories. They are co-operative ventures among three or more countries. Each country has different factors (labor, land, capital and entrepreneurship) which together are economically complementary, thus creating mutual advantages in external trade and investment. In reducing inequality or development disparity,[9] the concept aligns the capital, technology and human resources of more developed regions with the land, natural resources and labor of less developed areas.[10] The selected growth areas exhibit potential for addressing key issues for effective cooperation among the MRU countries especially in the areas of agriculture, energy, cross-border trade, fisheries, border security management, natural resource management and mining, ecosystems management, tourism and trade related infrastructure (transport).

 

The MRU Secretariat has been mandated[11] to chart the desired course of action for addressing the challenges facing the sub-region within the framework of four main pillars so that ultimately, the vision of the Union: ‘to ensure the establishment of a peaceful, stable and prosperous sub-region’ is attained. The four programmatic pillars are:

  • Institutional Revitalization and Restructuring;
  • Peace and Security;
  • Economic Development and Regional Integration; and
  • Social Development.

 

This strategic plan presents a roadmap for addressing the challenges facing the Union for the period 2012-2014, through projects and programmes that will be formulated and implemented within the framework of the above pillars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4: MRU Strategic Plan Pillars

 

Pillar I: Institutional Revitalization and Restructuring

 

Background

 

The institutional capacities for effective and efficient service delivery of the Secretariat and the public sector in the Member States of the Union required further strengthening before the onset of the civil conflicts in 1989. The conflicts unfortunately prevented not only the implementation of plans aimed at enhancing such capacity, but  rolled back or shattered whatever capacity was built at the Secretariat and particularly in the Member States of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

 

The effective functioning of the Secretariat and the institutions and agencies of government of Member States accordingly suffer from lack of technical and skilled professionals, poor and unconducive working environment, lack of required logistical support and incentives to enhance productivity.

 

Objectives

  1. Restore and enhance the capacity of the Secretariat to effectively carry out its assigned mandate with particular focus on human resources required for the implementation of the strategic plan.
  2. Contribute to the strengthening of technical capacity of senior civil servants and policy makers in the public sector of Member States to promote and lead change processes in support of poverty reduction and attainment of the millennium development goals; and enhancing capacity for negotiating and regulating investment and trade contracts.
  3. Review past programmes and projects of the Union with a view to determining their relevance in the light of the new and emerging realities and challenges facing Member States.

 

Strategy and Programmes

To address the challenges and achieve the above objectives, this pillar will focus on restoring physical, logistical, technical/human and administrative capacity of the Secretariat. Support will be secured to construct a fully equipped Mano River Union House to create a conducive working environment; recruit and/or train desired professionals/technocrats to implement the plan; and provide required logistics to facilitate the implementation of activities.

 

A review and possibly studies will be carried out to determine the state and relevance of past and ongoing projects and programmes of the Union with a view to ensuring their relevance, vis-à-vis, in responding to current challenges facing the sub-region.

 

Finally, the Secretariat will effectively support and over see the reformulation and implementation of two programmes aimed at building public sector capacity in policy formulation, analysis and management in support of the public sector reforms that are underway especially in Sierra Leone and Liberia which are most needed after the serious civil conflicts; and negotiating and regulating investment and trade contracts with focus on natural resources.

 

Pillar II: Peace and Security

 

Background

The peace and stability the sub-region enjoyed after gaining independence lasted only up to the mid 1960s. Political instability afterwards was due primarily to the poor nature and character of the governance systems and regimes in the Member States. This was evident by the excessive powers wielded by the leaders which suppressed any opposition that challenged such authority. Accordingly, while the few were getting richer and richer, the majority were living in poverty and deprivation. Marginalization, denial of the majority from participation in national affairs, lack of opportunities for self actualization and the poor state of national development resulted in large scale poverty and dissatisfaction. The poor quality of governance with associated negative vices which deprived the majority of acceptable living standards in the sub-region led to coups and counter coups and later devastating civil conflicts under the guise of patriotic revolutions to change the status-quo in the interest of the majority. However, the conflicts, instead of resolving the problems, have shattered the governance systems and structures further, as well as economic, social and infrastructure systems. Additionally, the conflicts have created insecurity and fear, thus making the sub-region unsafe for investment and the normal conduct of social and economic activities.

The youth were particularly affected by the civil wars in the MRU basin. Apart from been the predominant actors in the conflicts, they were also victims – deprived, exposed to all forms of violence and molestation, exposed to drugs and denied basic education. They are now a challenge to society which requires concrete and concerted action to make them positive contributors to national and sub regional development especially when they constitute the bulk of the population in the sub region.

Deprivation has further debilitated the youths as a result of massive unemployment and disguised unemployment. This situation poses threats to the fragile peace, security and stability, recovery, reconstruction and national and sub-regional development and integration.

 

The sub region is richly endowed with natural resources prominent among which are the rich fertile lands, the forest resources with biodiversity of national and global value, and mineral resources that can support and advance development. The fertile lands are underutilized and productivity is low. The sub region is accordingly food insecure. The rice riots in Liberia in 1989 which culminated in the coup of 1980 and the riots in 2008 as a result of the global food crisis are glaring cases in point. The mineral and forest resources of the sub region helped to support and prolong the civil conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone. These endowments, although economic in nature, have created conditions that have serious security implication thus warranting them to be treated within a security context.

 

The spread of the civil conflicts in the Member States of the sub-region demonstrates their inter-dependence in all spheres of life. It is evident that insecurity in one country poses threats to the neighboring states taking into consideration the fact that the borders are extensive, impassable in many areas, porous and with poor infrastructure. Additionally, border posts lack trained manpower and required equipment to effectively monitor and control movement of peoples and goods as well as the delivery of services. Accordingly, security is not only further threatened, but arms and drug trafficking, trafficking in humans and terrorism pose serious challenges to sustained peace and security in the sub-region. Pursuing peace at individual country level, taking into consideration the prevailing security context is now considered unsustainable. Collaboration between countries in the sub-region and the formulation and adoption of a common strategy for sustained peace, security and stability is considered the best way forward.

 

The gradual return of democratic governance in Member States of the Union, although not violent free due to reasons related to structure, systems, processes and the general conduct of the elections, the need for maintaining the progress, even if slow, is vital.

 

Objectives

  1. Review and update the 15th Protocol to the MRU Declaration on Cooperation on Defense, Security, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs to accommodate emerging realities and concerns and implement its provisions.
  2. Ensure effective and efficient management of the borders so as to improve cross border security in the sub-region to ensure human and material security.
  3. Support the enhancement and sustenance of democratic governance, culture and transitions.
  1. Constructively and practically contribute to the promotion and maintenance of food security in the sub region.
  1. Contribute to biodiversity conservation and restoration of sustainable management of forest ecosystems.
  2. Ensure effective regional mineral and natural resources management
  3. Contribute to the transformation of youth into productive citizens and true contributors to national and sub regional development.

 

Strategy and programmes

To address the above challenges in a sub-regional context and achieve pillar II’s objectives, the MRU will focus on seven (7) main project areas.

  • The implementation of the provisions of the revised 15th Protocol to the MRU Declaration on Cooperation on Defense, Security, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs;
  • The formulation and implementation of a border management programme.
  • The establishment of a sub-regional framework to sustain and ensure democratic transitions peacefully;
  • Formulate and implement a MRU rice and cassava programme in support of food security;
  • Conserve and sustainably manage five of the remaining forest landscapes of the Upper guinea Forest Ecosystem; and
  • Develop and approve a sub regional framework for the exploitation of the mineral resources.
  • Formulate and implement a youth employment programme.

 

In general, overall guidance and direction for these interventions will come from national laws and regulations on elections, the AU and ECOWAS Protocols and other international conventions relative to democratic governance with focus on elections.

 

In particular, these will be pursued within the framework of the 15th Protocol to the MRU Declaration on Co-operation on Defense, Security, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs. This Protocol, among other things, calls for the establishment of structures, systems and mechanisms to facilitate information gathering and analysis on security issues; dissemination of appropriate security information to stakeholders with a view to ensuring common understanding and appreciation of developments on the security front; monitoring of borders, holding of appropriate meetings to understand and address security issues and concerns; and providing the atmosphere for confidence building within and among communities especially along the borders. Overall, this protocol aims at making national and sub-regional security the business and responsibility of all citizens so as to prevent conflict and sustain the peace.

 

Food Security

Between 60-75 percent of the population in the sub-region rely on agriculture for their sustenance and survival. Food crops, cash crops, tubers and vegetable production constitute the major activities of farming households. Technological, production, infrastructure and marketing constraints seriously hamper productivity in this sector. As a result, the sub-region is currently food insecure. Also, the 2008 food crisis resulted in riots in many countries, generating negative effects on the social, political and economic life of the populations. It is estimated that the sub-region spends about US$800 million on rice imports to meet yearly consumption demands. A strategy[12] for addressing the food situation on a sustainable basis recommends a medium and long-term approach to addressing the food crisis with primary focus on making rice not only a commercial crop but an instrument for poverty reduction in the sub-region.

 

To address the sub-region’s food insecurity, support has been secured from the World Bank (WB) under the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) and with technical guidance of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), a rice programme has been formulated. The MRU Secretariat provided leadership for the formulation of the programme guided by the ECOWAS agricultural policy. Primary focus is on addressing productivity and marketing constraints so as to make rice not only a commercial crop but an instrument for poverty reduction. Additionally, the establishment of food security hub[13] will be pursued in support of ensuring food security in the sub region. 

 

 

 

Tran boundary Forest management

The Upper Guinea Forest Ecosystem is the third largest natural forest landscape in the world. The ecosystem is rich in biological resources of national and global value but threatened by populations living on the borders that rely on these resources for their survival due to lack of alternative livelihoods. Additionally, the mineral resources within these landscapes pose threats to conservation due to desire of Governments to exploit them for revenue generation for national development. Liberia is now estimated to have about 42% of the remaining forest cover, followed by Côte d’Ivoire estimated at 28%, Guinea estimated at 8%, and Sierra Leone estimated at 5% (Sayer et al. 1992). They are therefore now regarded as biodiversity hotspots and the need to protect and preserve the endemic fauna and flora is now a global concern. The MRU countries, collectively now possess the largest portion of the remaining Upper Guinea Forest Ecosystem and the conservation of this landscape can be beneficial not only to the MRU but the world at large.

 

The Mineral Sector

The sub-region is endowed with rich mineral resources with gold, diamonds, iron ore, bauxite being the primary ones. These mineral endowments can be sources of vast revenue for governments as well as benefit communities in which they are located thus contributing to sustainable development. It is however unfortunate that none of the Member States can show tangible evidence of the benefits derived from the exploitation of the mineral resources. These deposits have further created and/or fuelled conflicts in this sub-region in particular.

 

It has been discovered through a World Bank supported study on the mineral sector in the sub region that some of these mineral deposits do not follow political boundaries but are rather located in mineral belts which cross country borders[14]. Exploring approaches and strategies for developing these mineral resource corridors using common infrastructure, power sources and management, although challenging, can create opportunities for balanced growth and development as well as the attainment of the MDGs.

 

For the management of sub region’s mineral wealth, focus will be on the harmonization of laws, policy and regulatory framework and collecting adequate geological data. In addressing the challenges[15] of the mineral sector in Member States, MRU will apply the growth triangle/growth area concept and will focus on the following three potential mining clusters:

    • The eastern iron ore deposit cluster on the Guinea/Liberia border (Nimba range);
    • The West/Central Iron ore and Gold deposit cluster on the Liberia/Sierra Leone border; and
    • The Central Guinea and Northern Sierra Leone Bauxite deposit.

 

The Africa Mining Vision 2050 (AU 2008); Regional Harmonization of Mining Policies, Standards, Legislation and Regulatory Framework (SADC 2004) and its Implementation Plan (2008), West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Mineral Policy (1999) and Code (2003) and the ECOWAS Directive on the Harmonization of Guiding Principles and Policies in the Mining Sector (2009) all provide the framework for pursuing the regional approach.

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 5: Location of Sub-Regional Mining Infrastructure cluster opportunities

 

Additionally, the need to address the threats and challenges posed by artisanal mining has also been stressed since it provides livelihood for hundreds of thousands of the population in the sub region.

 

 

 

Youth Employment

The unemployment rate in the sub-region lies between 60-85 percent. For a region that has experienced civil conflict for over a decade and half, this is dangerous for the sustenance of peace and security. The war attracted a generation of youth whose future is bleak. They have lost out on education and have no marketable skills. Failing to address their needs will negatively impact the fragile peace the region enjoys now. The need to take their minds away from war and make them productive citizens demands the formulation and implementation of projects and programmes that can build their skills for employment and self employment.

Youths will be targeted through the continuation of the implementation of the youth employment programme that was suspended in 2009 due to funding limitations. The focus will be on youths residing in border areas with the following as target groups:

 

  • Marginalized, poor urban and rural youth;
  • Youth who wish to start up a business or to become employed or improve community productivity;
  • Youth who already own a business and wish to expand.

 

 

 

 

Pillar III: Economic Development and Regional Integration

 

Background

Taking into consideration the rich natural resource base of the sub-region, the potential for collaboration to ensure economic development and integration is extremely vast. Additionally, this pillar has the greatest potential not only to reduce poverty and immensely contribute to the attainment of the MDGs, but to also improve the well-being and living standards of the populations.

 

Noting that issues related to food security, environmental conservation and the mineral sector, by virtue of their security considerations are covered under the security pillar, this pillar will therefore deal with issues related to transboundary water basin management, trade promotion and industrial development, and infrastructure development to fully support economic growth, development and sub regional integration. For most of these programmes, a sub-regional approach will be adopted guided by the growth triangle/growth area concept.

 

A brief background is provided below for each of the sub sectors of this pillar:

 

Tran boundary Water Basin Management

The water resources of the sub-region are vast but underdeveloped, underutilized and poorly managed. The sub-region is blessed with abundant water resources with great potential for producing hydro-power, as well as for supporting agricultural productivity. In particular, the Mano River basin is shared among three (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) of the four countries of the Union while the Cavally basin is shared by Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire. The Mano and Cavally Rivers therefore represents a common strategic resource in the sub-region. Managing these water resources in the sub-region should be one of the focus areas in the next three years.  Reducing the competition for water for domestic use, agriculture and industrial purposes is crucial to avert possible conflict over the resource especially in border areas. Additionally, it must be noted that 75-80 percent of the water supply in West Africa has its source in this sub region. The need to fully tap the potential of the water resources and ensure its sustainable management is long overdue.

 

 

Trade Promotion and industrial Development

It is fully recognized that the private sector has to take the lead if sustainable growth and development should take place in the sub-region. The current levels of formal trade among MRU countries is insignificant or modest and in recent times affected by sporadic policies and counter policies among Member States hampering cross border trade. Conclusions drawn from a private sector forum[16] on the MRU countries indicate the need for the Governments to come up with laws, policies, regulations and incentives to attract investment; secure resources for the development of the sectors; and domesticate and implement provisions under the MRU and ECOWAS protocols on free movement and trade. In the light of the huge potentials for investment in the sub region, the need to create the enabling environment for attracting such investment is vital.

 

Infrastructure

Infrastructure primarily encompasses issues related to transport (land, sea/water, and air); water and sanitation, communications, energy and power. Availability of such infrastructure attracts investment in most sectors of the economy as well as support, facilitate and promote development. The infrastructure situation in the MRU basin can be described as unacceptable taking into consideration its natural resource endowments. On the Africa Infrastructure Development Index, the MRU states are stand as follows for 2009:

 

Country                                   Rank                                        National Coverage                                                                                                                                             

Cote D’Ivoire                           28th                                                                                                            28%

Guinea                                     29.7th                                                  29.7%

Liberia                                                 43rd                                                                                                            13.2%

Sierra Leone                            50th                                                      4.9%

 

It can be seen from the above that the full development of infrastructure in the sub region is crucial for national and sub-regional development and integration.

In the case of energy and power, the situation is dire for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone but more so for Liberia and Sierra Leone which have emerged from devastating civil conflict. For these states, the lack of requisite energy and power is seriously hampering recovery, reconstruction and development initiatives. The lack of energy and power is also hampering investment due to increased investment costs in energy and power provision.

 

Transport infrastructure (roads, rail, air, sea) in the sub-region is poor thus posing serious challenges to increased productivity, free movement, trade and commerce, investment, overall socio-economic development and economic integration. Compounding the problem further is the lack of requisite and reliable communications infrastructure including lack of access to the majority due o costs. Accordingly, traveling within the sub-region, especially by air, is not only expensive due to lack of direct flights within and among Member States, but time consuming. The roads connecting the Member States, which could serve as the most reliable and affordable alternative, are deplorable and sometimes impassable during the rainy season. Even the Trans African Highway, which Member States committed themselves to, is yet to be completed. Due to the extensive and porous nature of the borders, key roads need to be identified for construction to fully link the Member States to facilitate free movement, trade and commerce, as well as improve revenue generation. The rail network is practically non-existent. What existed in Liberia require rehabilitation and that in Sierra Leone was unfortunately removed long before the conflicts. What exists in Member States is mostly supportive of private interests with focus on natural resource exploitation.

 

Objectives

 

  1. Ensure the sustainable conservation, utilization and management of the transboundry water resources of the sub region;
  2. Create enabling conditions for promoting trade and attracting investment to the sub region; and
  3. Build and improve required infrastructure to support and sustain socio-economic development within and among Member States

 

Strategy and programmes

To address the above challenges and attain the desired objectives as well as unlock the economic development potential, the MRU will apply the principles and practices of the growth triangle/growth area concept as outlined in the growth triangle study for the MRU. Through this, the MRU will pursue interventions in the following areas:

 

Water Basin Management

The issue of managing the available water resources is crucial for development in the sub-region. Priority will be given to the implementation of the “Mano River Basin Development Project”[17]. The Mano River Basin development project will directly impact on other projects (rice programme, forest ecosystems conservation project, energy project etc) of the MRU as proposed in this strategic plan. Particular attention will be paid to the use of water resources for the generation of energy and power, improving productivity in the agriculture sector through irrigation and creating opportunities for investment in other sectors.

 

Trade and Industry

In the area of trade and industry, support will be provided to undertake appropriate studies/assessments that will provide desired information to facilitate decision making by the governments as well attract funding to address the challenges faced in the sectors of trade promotion and industrial development.  

 

Infrastructure

All requisite actions will be taken to ensure that the Union can access and make full use of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) in collaboration with ECOWAS and engage in dialogues for utilization of surplus energy in Member States[18].

 

The support secured from the AfDB by the MRU Secretariat for the study of the water basin in the sub-region will be pursued so as to lay the basis for the formulation of requisite projects and programmes that would address the energy and power challenges on a more sustainable basis.

 

Key roads to effectively link member countries will be identified.[19] Discussions will be held with these countries to agree on the road links to effectively connect the sub region. This will provide the basis for the Secretariat to prepare a programme document on the road network and secure requisite funding from donors starting with funding facilities under ECOWAS. In the case of air transport, the Air Mano initiative which was reaching a conclusive stage for funding by the private sector before the civil conflicts will be revisited. The rail network will be considered in tandem with investment in the mineral sector. Sea and river transport will require studies and assessment to determine what needs to be done.

 

 

Pillar IV: Social Development

 

Background

The health and education infrastructure and systems of the Member States of the Union, especially Liberia and Sierra Leone, were severely devastated during the civil conflicts. It is estimated that 60-75 percent of the health and education infrastructure in these two countries were left in a state of disrepair, a large number of medical personnel lost their lives and tens of thousands sought refuge within and outside of the sub-region thus making access to medical services minimal or almost impossible, as well as prohibitive due to high costs, especially in the rural areas. Capacities to provide desired medical services in facilities that are operating leave much to be desired. Deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS/STI, Tuberculosis and Malaria including Lassa Fever which plague the sub-region require urgent attention especially along the borders since such areas are not given the desired consideration in national planning and budgeting. A similar situation prevails in the education sector with hundreds of thousands of school-going children out of school. Although conditions in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire are not as difficult as in Liberia and Sierra Leone, costs, access and quality of services remain significant challenges.

 

The sub-region is bi-lingual (English and French being official languages) and at the moment, communication between citizens in the sub-region poses challenges even for literate people. Educational systems in the respective countries do not emphasize language skills. Easy communication facilitates dialogue on issues of common interest and promotes collaboration, harmony, trade and commerce as well as peace and security. Easy communication further facilitates and support integration. The need to ensure that citizens of the sub-region speak both languages is crucial.

 

The conflicts in the sub region shattered the peace, cohesion and tranquility within and among families and communities. Hatred and mistrust became the order of the day. Additionally, value systems were lost. These need to be restored so as to nurture and sustain the peace.  

 

Women and children are still negatively impacted by the cultural and social norms within the sub region. Women, girls and children experienced violence and brutality during the conflicts that have left them disadvantaged and deprived as well as traumatized. United Nations Resolutions 1325 and 1820 were crafted to address these issues and make women and children positive contributors to national and sub regional development. In addition to the formulation of action plans by Governments to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the resolutions, a sub regional action plan has also been developed. The MRU Secretariat has a role to play in ensuring the full implementation of the sub regional action plan.

 

Accordingly, selected issues related to health; education including language training; promotion of peace and stability through culture and sports; women and children within the framework of UN resolutions 1325 and 1820 will be addressed under this pillar in collaboration with the Member States.

 

Health and Education

For the sub-region, addressing the health situation for residents along the borders is critical taking into consideration the massive displacement of the population during the conflicts resulting in tens of thousands of them now residing in border areas where they sought refuge. These refugees relied primarily on the humanitarian support to address their critical health problems and that of host communities especially in the areas of HIV/AIDS/STI, TB and malaria, which threatened and continue to take a tool on the population as well as pose serious challenges to socio-economic development nationally and sub-regionally. Lassa Fever has also become a deadly infectious disease with between 300,000 to 350,000 persons infected per year in West Africa. The disease is endemic in Liberia and Sierra Leone and also reported to be present in Guinea and cote d’Ivoire. It is the most frequently exported disease and therefore requires attention and action.

 

 

Women and children

Cultural norms and traditions, legal barriers/deficiencies, and gender-based violence have negatively impacted women’s role in society and their full contribution to national and sub-regional development. Additionally, child abuse and trafficking are on the increase with impunity. Gender disparities with particular focus on biases against women and the abuse of children are glaring and require redress.

 

Objectives

  1. To support the sub-region to meet goal six of the MDGs – to stop and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS/STI as well as address health issues related to malaria, tuberculosis and Lassa fever.

 

  1. Support Member States in putting into place required structures and systems that will facilitate and enhance the speaking of both official languages (English and French) by the populations in the sub-region as well as build technical capacity in the public sector; and

 

  1. Address the problems of vulnerable populations (women, children and youths) and the involvement of youths in productive activities with an emphasis on women.

 

Strategy and programmes

To contribute to the achievement of social development, the focus of this strategy will be on a review of policies, strategies and laws on health, education, women and children and youth employment of Member States. These instruments will be reviewed for these sectors to support cooperation and collaboration among MRU Member States for harmonization of standards in ensuring that available capacity and standards within and among Member States is uniform. 

 

For specific interventions in these sectors, the emphasis is on border regions and areas covering two or more of the MRU countries. Specifically:

 

A pilot health project implemented in the border region on reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS/STI will be extended, with secured funding, to other target areas.

 

Language training[20] will be given attention to make communication easier between citizens in the sub-region. A thorough assessment will be undertaken to determine the nature and scope of such interventions.

 

On health and education, geographical coverage will include the identified growth areas identified by the growth triangle study and other requisite border regions. The aim will be to ensure that children get primary education and basic medical services.

 

The Secretariat, in collaboration with the Member States, will assess and analyze the situation of women and children within the framework of UN Security Council resolutions 1825 and 1820 with particular focus on issues related to gender based violence and child abuse and trafficking in border areas with a view to designing projects/programmes to address them on a sub-regional basis.

 

 

 

 

SECTION 4: IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND REPORTING

4.1 Implementation Arrangements

T

he plan will be implemented in two phases that would run concurrently – project/programme formulation; implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

 

  1. Project/programme formulation: This will begin with the identification of partners/stakeholders possessing the required expertise and/or engaged in activities related to the areas or sectors to be addressed. Potential donors will also be identified. These will be engaged to determine critical areas for action and related issues to be addressed as part of the formulation process. Consultations will be ensured at all levels from the conceptual stage to the finalization and approval of formulated projects and programmes. This will ensure that objectives, activities, beneficiaries, roles and responsibilities are well defined and buy-in and support assured to facilitate smooth implementation of programmes.

 

Noting that considerable studies, assessments with associated documentation are already available on most of the areas of intervention, and that the ECOWAS, AU, multilateral institutions and the UN system are vital sources of information and guidance, the Secretariat will draw on these studies and engage these institutions and organizations in the formulation and implementation of the projects and programmes.

 

Additionally, the concept of Growth Triangles, which have proven successful in South East Asia and Southern Africa, will be applied, also drawing from documentation on the potential use of this approach in the sub-region now available.

 

  1. Project/programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation: Each project/programme will have a clearly defined strategy and implementation arrangement as well as clear definition of roles and responsibilities. Some programmes will be implemented by the Secretariat, some by Member States, others by joint commissions of Member States as well as NOGs/civil society. The implementation arrangements will facilitate monitoring and evaluation.

 

Member States already have on going projects and programmes in their development agendas on some of the issues raised. The Secretariat will collaborate with the Governments in constructing the desired platform/framework and mobilizing resources for the attainment of the intended objectives. 

 

 

4.3 Guiding Principles for implementation of strategic action plan

 

The successful implementation of the MRU Secretariat’s strategic action plan will rest on the observance of key principles. These include:

 

 

 

Applying the growth triangle/growth area concept

This concept will guide programme formulation and implementation for the MRU through the Secretariat for the duration of this Strategic Plan. Programmes will almost always cover two or more countries of the MRU.

 

Political commitment and maintaining principles of good governance

The commitment of relevant MRU Governments through moral and financial support to the Secretariat will be fundamental for the implementation of the strategic plan.

 

Gender

The MRU must make greater contribution to gender opportunity and equity as a basic guiding principle in the formulation and implementation of all its projects and programmes. The Secretariat will ensure mainstreaming of gender issues into all its projects and programmes.

 

Private sector

Creating the enabling environment for the participation of private sector in the implementation of the strategic action plan is essential for success. A strong and dynamic private sector will be a prerequisite for implementing programmes in the growth areas as well as national and sub regional development.

 

Environmental sustainability

Like gender, the principles of environmental sustainability will be integrated into all projects and programmes of the MRU. Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) tools will be used to avoid negative environmental impact of the Union’s projects/programmes.

 

Partnerships and collaborations

The sub-region has daunting development challenges and addressing them requires multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary approaches. Technical/human, institutional, logistical and financial constraints need to be addressed. Effectively addressing these challenges therefore requires forging concrete partnerships to ensure buy-in and desired participation and support at all levels. The Secretariat will ensure that within the framework of each programme, such partnerships are established – from grassroots to national and international levels – to ensure that desired objectives are attained. The strategic plan provides the basis for identifying key partners since some partners have responsibility for pursuing projects/programmes in the areas the plan is focused on. Current partnerships with development partners such as the UN system, ECOWAS, AU, AfDB, WB, NGOs, Bilateral Governments and multilateral partners will be enhanced and used to leverage additional support from other partners and donors. For partnerships to serve the desired purposes, clear roles and responsibilities need to be defined for each of the partners and mechanisms established to ensure coordination in the implementation of the assigned responsibilities. 

 

 

4.4       Monitoring and Evaluation

 

The overall objective of monitoring and evaluation is to ensure that the intended objectives of projects and programmes are satisfactorily achieved. It also facilitates decision making on a continuous basis, based on the evolving conditions. A Programme Officer will provide required leadership and technical guidance for the conduct of monitoring and evaluation exercises supported by other programme staff in the Secretariat. The overall policy direction will be provided by the Union Council of Ministers with technical guidance from the Technical Commissions and the Technical Committee. Project/programme management units will serve as the information base to guide the conduct of monitoring and evaluation exercises.

 

For the exercise to be successful, a reliable information base will have to be established dealing with all aspects of intervention for the Union’s work. All designed projects and programmes will have clearly defined objectives, activities, inputs and outputs with related outcomes and indicators, roles and responsibilities of actors/stakeholders well defined and timelines for achievements specified.

 

A work plan will be developed by the responsible Programme Officer, based on the annual programme work plan, for the conduct of monitoring and evaluation exercises.

SECTION 5: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

 

5.1 Conclusions

 

T

his strategic plan provides a framework through which the MRU, through its Secretariat, will work with various Member States in realizing its vision of ‘ensuring the establishment of a peaceful, stable and prosperous sub-region’.

 

This strategic plan will also help position the MRU Secretariat, the Union’s implementing arm, in the midst of other regional bodies with similar mandates, to demonstrate its worth and value to sub regional and regional development and integration.

 

The plan provides a framework through which the MRU will show value addition with regards to regional and sub-regional integration. It provides the operational focus of the Union which is complementary to other regional bodies, especially ECOWAS.

 

The document provides a strategic framework and direction for the MRU, highlighting key pillars and objectives that will be followed in the next three years (2012-2014). The plan is ambitious but realistic given the challenges and opportunities in the sub-region.

 

5.1.2 The Mano River Union in three years

 

Upon the successful implementation of the three-year strategic plan, the MRU Secretariat will be operating in its own premises – The MRU House. Construction of at least three MRU Inter-State highways would have commenced, socio-economic development activities will have been initiated in at least two of the proposed growth areas. Productivity in rice and cassava production would be on the rise, strong foundation for sub regional integration would have been laid, border security would have been enhanced in all the four Member States, and a sustainable sub regional framework for forest resources conservation and management would have been established. Implementation of this plan will also produce an MRU with easy administrative procedures and limited barriers to cross-border movements of peoples, goods and services and joint border security management, in turn leading to a reduction in trafficking of drugs, human and small arms.

 

Most importantly, by the end of the three years, the MRU will have a strong, effective and efficient Secretariat addressing issue of sub-regional integration and maintenance of peace and security and with a clear mandate and role thus demonstrating its added value.

 

5.2 Recommendations

 

Following the approval of this strategic plan, a detailed MRU Secretariat capacity assessment should be conducted. This assessment should be at two levels:

 

The organizational level

Focus here will be on the internal structure, policies and procedures that determine an organization’s effectiveness.

 

At the individual level

These are the skills, experience and knowledge that allow each person to perform. The skills, experience and knowledge of current staff with regards to capacity to implement this strategy will be assessed and an analysis of how the identified gaps will be filled or addressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANNEXES

Annex I: Socio-economic Indicators in MRU countries

Comparative Parameters                                  Country Indicators
Côte d’Ivoire Guinea Liberia Sierra Leone
Population (2010) 21.6 m 10.3 m 4.1 m 5.8 m
Average Annual growth rate of population (2010-2015) 2.3% 2.7% 2.3% 2.6%
Proportion of population living below US$1.25 per day1 23.3% 70.1% 83.7% 53.4%
ECONOMIC
GDP (billion US$, 2008) 23.4 3.8 0.8 2.0
GDP/capita (US$, 2008) 1,137 386 222 352
GDP growth annual % (20095) 3.6 -0.3 4.6 4.0
Foreign direct investment, net inflows (% of GDP, 2008) 1.7 10.1 17.1 -0.2
Import of goods and services as % of GDP 42 30 66 43
Export of goods and services as % of GDP 50 26 31 24
EDUCATION
Adult literacy rate % aged  15yrs and above female/male 38.6/60.8 18.1/42.6 50.9/60.2 26.8/50
Adult literacy rate % aged 15 and above (2005-20081) 54.6 70.5 58.1 39.8
Gross primary/secondary/tertiary enrollment (2001-20091) 74.5/26.3/8.4 89.9/35.8/9.2 90.6/31.6/17.4 157.7/34.6/2.0
Public expenditure on education as percent of GDP (2000-20071) 4.6 1.7 2.7 3.8
Production of science and technology journals/articles (’99)   2 1 3
Tertiary students in Science and technology as % of enrollment   34   8
HEALTH
Life expectancy at birth (2010) 58.4 58.9 59.1 48.2
Under five mortality per 1000 live births (2008) 114 146 145 194
Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel (2000-20081) 57 38 46 42
Maternal mortality per 100,000 live births (2003-20081) 810 910 9943 1200
HIV/AIDS Prevalence rate (adults, 2007) 3.9 1.6 1.7 1.7
Public expenditure on Health as percent of GDP (2000-20071) 1.0 0.6 2.8 1.4
ENVIRONMENT (WATER AND SANITATION)
Population without access to safe drinking water (% in 2008) 20 29 32 51
Population without access to sanitation (% in 2008) 77 81 83 87
TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Fixed line and mobile phone subscribers per 100 people (2008) 52 39 19 19
Internet users per 100 people (2008) 3.2 0.9 0.5 0.3
Population covered buy mobile network (% in 2008) 59 80 .. 70
INFRASTRUCTURE
Electricity consumption per capita in kwh (2004) 224 87   24
Population without electricity (% in 2008) 50.5
Rank on the Africa Infrastructure development Index (AfDB 2009) 28 29 43 50
WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT
Year women gained right to vote and stand in elections 1952 1958 1946 1961
Women in parliament (% in 2008) 9 4 13.8 13.2
Labour force participation rate female/male (2010) 51.3/82.4 82.3/90 69.1/76.8 67.1/68.1

Sources:

1UNDP HDR 2010: Data refer to the most recent year available during the period specified

2UNCTAD’s least developed countries reports 2007 and 2010;

3Millennium Development Goals Progress Report 2010, Sierra Leone

4 Parliament was dissolved following the 2008 Coup

5 Data is for 2009 obtained from World Bank’s World Development Indicators

 

 

 

Annex II: A map of the sub-region showing the proposed growth triangle zones

           
     
       
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Liberia – Sierra Leone-Coastline Growth Area

 

Cote d`Ivoire – Liberia – Coastline Growth Area

 

                                                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annex III: Matrix of ongoing and planned projects and programmes under the four pillars of the strategic plan

Institutional Revitalization and Restructuring                      

Intervention Area Outcome(s) Objective(s) Output(s) Indicator(s) for outputs Status of implementation Partners Cost (in US$)
1. Institutional capacity building of the Secretariat The MRU Secretariat effectively and efficiently implementing its mandate.

MRU Secretariat serving as implementing arm of ECOWAS

Restore and enhance institutional and human capacity at the MRU Secretariat to effectively and efficiently carry out its assigned mandate.

Oversee implementation of ECOWAS supported projects in the sub region

MRU House constructed, furnished and equipped.

Operational manuals and organogram in place with requisite and qualified staffing.

Logistics and support services available.

Conducive and permanent working environment.

Statutory appointees, professionals and support staff at work.

MRU visible.

Land allocation by Sierra Leone Government in process.

Capacity building support to Secretariat ongoing.

Member States, AfDB, ACBF, Moroccan Government, UNFPA, UNDP, UNIDO, UNOWA, UNODC 10,000,000
2. Review and assessment of MRU past projects and programmes Reactivated projects/programmes under implementation and contributing positively to the socio-economic development of the sub region. Determine the relevance of past projects/programmes relative to   addressing prevailing and emerging development challenges facing the Union Report on review/assessments undertaken.

New projects/programmes formulated.

Documentation on the activities undertaken To be started in 2011 with preparation of the TOR and securing funding fior the assessments. Member States, UN system, AfDB 30,000
3. Capacity development for negotiating and regulating investment and trade contracts in MRU States MRU Member States enjoying optimal benefits from investments in natural resources exploration.

Improved living standards of the peoples of the sub region.

Strengthen the capacity of the Union’s Member States to negotiate, manage and regulate large-scale investment contracts as well as efficiently manage resources generated there from. Member States Governments’ capacity to negotiate contracts enhanced through technical and legal aid and training of functionaries.

Signed contracts beneficial to the Governments and citizens in the sub region.

Records on capacity enhancement activities. Records on negotiations and contracts signed. Increased revenue generation from contracts. Project on going with operational site in UNDP Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal. Liberia and sierra Leone are benefiting from project. First phase of project has ended. Inclusion of all Member States will be pursued once project is extended. Member States, UNDP, AfDB, ACBF  
4. Training For Senior Civil Servants in Member States Enhanced public service capacity in Member States for pursuing reforms, recovery and sustainable development. Build capacity of 500 senior civil servants and policy makers in financial, operational, managerial and leadership skills to help promote and lead change and development in their respective countries. 500 civil servants and policy makers trained as change agents.

Capacity of key local institutions enhanced to provide desired training activities.

Training programmes, curricula and materials developed to buttress training activities

Records on training activities conducted.

Record of support provided to national training institutions.

Documentation on training curricula and materials produced.

Implementation of training activities started in 2009 following delays due to the conflicts. Extension of project under negotiation with complete revision of project document. ACBF, GIMPA, Lead agencies/institutions in Member States ( IPAM, LIPA,CNPG) 1,700,000

 

 

 

 

Peace and Security

 

Intervention area Outcome(s) Objectives Output Output Indicators Status of implementation Partners Cost
1. Implementation of the 15th Protocol on Cooperation on Peace, Security and Defense. Sustained peace, security and stability in the MRU Basin.

 

Develop, institute and operationalize a peace and security architecture for sustaining peace and stability in the union including early warning system Institutional structures and systems as specified by the 15th Protocol in place to ensure sustenance of peace, security and stability.

Security Unit established in the MRU Secretariat with terms of reference for its operation.

Peace and security architecture.

Institutions under the protocol established and functional.

Records of deliberations of the institutions.

Security Unit operational.

A concept note was developed by the Secretariat in 2010 in support of the implementation of the 15th Protocol. A joint Security committee meeting was held in Monrovia in January 2011 with focus on addressing the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire. A security subcommittee meeting was held in July in Monrovia which came up recommendations on how the address security including the holding of a JSC meeting in Conakry in September 2011. The meeting was however held between 28 November to 1 December 2011. The 15th Protocol  was revised and a meeting of experts proposed to develop a framework for operationalizing the provisions. Security institutions/agencies

of Member States, UN system, ECOWAS, EU,

Bilateral partners.

 
2. Border Management Free movement of peoples, goods and services assured without hindrance.

Illegal and criminal cross-border activities minimized.

Increase revenue generation for governments.

Improve cross border security in the basin to ensure human and material security.

Build capacity and enhance accountability and roles of all actors. Strengthen MRU’s coordination role.

 

MRU framework for border management with associated legal and operational instruments consistent with that of AU and ECOWAS.

Information base and resource center established. Selected border posts equipped and manned by trained personnel. Effective monitoring system in place.

 

 

Fully functioning operational resource centre.

Selected border points functional.

Documentation system and processing easier and faster;

 

Framework for the programme developed. Full programme formulation in 2012 and implementation to follow. Security institutions/agencies

of Member States, ECOWAS, AU, EU, UN system  bilateral partners, AfDB, WB

 
3.Democratic Governance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robust and acceptable mechanism for changing Governments through the ballot box in place

 

Establish a sub-regional structure for monitoring elections in the sub region. Elections monitoring body for the MRU. Documentation on establishment of the structure and the monitoring body.

Records on activities of the body.

Meetings planned for agreeing on the framework for the establishment of the structure and the elections monitoring body. Security institutions/agencies

of Member States, ECOWAS, AU, EU, UN system 

 
4.Agriculture and Food Security MRU Sub region food secure.

Rice and cassava grown as a commercial crop and supporting poverty reduction.

Up-to-date national, sub regional and global information on food situation readily available.

Food Security Hub fully operational.

Ensure food security in the sub-region with focus on rice and cassava productivity.

Establish and operationalize a food security hub.

Rice and cassava available, accessable and affordable in the sub-region.

Food security hub established.

MRU rice programme document. 

Appreciable increases in rice and cassava production.

Documentation on the information generated by the hub.

Reports on activities carried o.

 

Preparation of the MRU rice programme started in 2009 and completed in 2010. Approval and funding secured in 2010. Implementation started in 2011 in Liberia and Sierra Leone with Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire to follow. MRU States, WB, Japan,   CORAF, ECOWAS, bilateral governments 53,000,000
5. Forest Ecosystem Conservation Structures and systems with required capacity for sustainable environmental conservation and management

 

Contribute to biodiversity conservation and restoration of sustainable management of forest ecosystem to the benefit of the population in the sub-region and the global community.

Ensure the regeneration and conservation of the ecosystems.

Improve the livelihoods of the populations around the protected landscapes.

Strengthen capacity of the institutions involved in the management of the Mano River Forest Ecosystems.  

Conserved fauna and flora in the five protected landscapes.

Residents engaged in sustainable livelihood activities.

Effective and efficient management structures and systems in place.

Documentation on the protected areas/national or sub regional parks.

Parks attracting tourists.

Alternative livelihood activities around the protected areas. Ecotourism ongoing.

Monitoring and evaluation reports.

Programme formulated in 2010. Appraisal, approval and implementation planned for 2012. Agencies and institutions of MRU Member governments, AfDB, AU, EU, USAID, NGOs ECOWAS Programme initially estimated to cost US$50 million. Programme planned for five-year implementation.
6.Mineral Sector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laws, policies, structures, systems and procedures instituted nationally and sub regionally to guide initiation, negotiation and signing of concession/investment contracts/agreements beneficial to the governments and peoples of the sub region. Develop a sub regional strategy for beneficially exploring the mineral resource endowments. Effective and efficient laws, policies, systems and procedures in place for tapping the potential of the mineral resources in the MRU. Documentation on situation analysis.

Unified procedures and processes for artisanal mining. Mining concession agreements.

In response to a request from the governments of the Union, the World bank supported an assessment of the mineral sector in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in 2009. The report identifies mineral clusters that can be exploited on a sub regional basis. Member States of the Union, MRU Secretariat, WB, UNDP, GIZ  
7. Youth Employment Youth in the sub region engaged in productive ventures and/or gainfully employed and contributing to national and sub regional development.

 

Support cvapacity development and the engagement of the target group in productive and decent work in both urban and rural areas;

Improve or increase the services delivered by institutions involved in the creation of youth employment; and

Increase employment of youth in high demand areas in the private sector.

 

Sustainable business enterprises established and operational;

Loan scheme operational;

Standardized technical training schemes in place and skills of youth built ;

Sub-regional youth forum and steering committee established and in operation;

Information network established.

 

Documentation on outputs.

Reports on activities undertaken. Youth enterprises in operation and number of youth employed as a result of support provided.

Implementation of a pilot phase of the programme ended in 2009. Reformulation of a new programme is in progress. In the interim, the Indian Government has provided support through UNIDO to train 16 youth entrepreneurs. The project is ongoing. UNIDO ILO, UNDP, Youth Employment Network (YEN) and other relevant UN agencies, Indian Government.

 

 

 

 

Economic Development and Regional Integration

Intervention area Outcome(s) Objective Output(s) Output indicators Status of Implementation Partners Cost (US$)
1. Transboundary Water Basin Management Transboundary water bodies sustainably utilized and managed in support of national and sub regional development. Assess transboundary water basins with a view to developing national and sub regional capacity for their effective utilization and management as well as formulating investment proposals and mobilizing resources for their implementation. From a long-term perspective enhanced socio-economic development of the sub region and improved living standards of the peoples.

In the medium-term, a shared vision in place for the sustainable management of water basins with enhanced capacity in place.

In the short-term, reports on management of water basins and plans for their utilization, priority investment proposals, partnership meetings held including donor meetings.

New development initiatives underway.

Improved incomes to households around the water basins.

Sustainable management systems and structures in place with required capacity.

New resources mobilized.

 

The project was formulated    
               
3. Trade and Industry Sub regional trade and investment strategy operational.

Unhindered trade and movement of peoples within the sub region.

Investment and industrial growth flourishing in the MRU basin.

 

Develop and adopt common trade and investment strategy that will promote and enhance trade as well as attract private sector investment in the sub region. Adopted MRU trade and investment strategy. Improved investment climate as evidenced by new investments.

Trade volume within sub region increased.

Increased revenue generation from trade and investment.

Business forum was held in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009 which defined possible areas for investment.

Trade meeting was held in October in 2011 in Abidjan which came up with recommendations for promoting trade and attracting investment in the MRU basin.

Institutions and agencies of Member States, UN, ECOWAS, EU, bilateral and multilateral institutions.  
               
5. Infrastructure International standards of access to energy and power enjoyed by citizens of the MRU Member States.

Member States effectively connected by road, air and sea.  

Ensure generation, availability and affordable energy and power to the population in the sub-region.

Construct, improve and enhance transport infrastructure.

A sub regional framework for the generation and supply of energy and power in the MRU basin formulated and adopted.

Key transport infrastructure identified and constructed or improved.

Energy and power available and affordable in the sub-region.

Transport infrastructure improved and enhanced.

Documentation on infrastructure contracts signed.

The WAPP is operational. The Secretariat will develop a programme defining how the Member states can benefit from the existing facilities as well as potentials for energy and power generation. Member States, AfDB,

ECOWAS,

EU, Bilateral Governments

 

 

Social Development

 

Intervention area Outcomes Objective(s) Expected Output Expected Output indicator(s) Implementation Status Partners Cost in

(US$)

1. Health Populations in the border areas of the Union having access to required medical services with focus communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS/STI, TB, Malaria and Lassa Fever. Reverse and arrest the incidence and spread of HIV/AIDS/STIs, prevent the spread of new infections of HIV/AIDS/STI among refugees, internally displaced populations and their host communities.

Treat and control the incidence and spread of malaria, tuberculosis and Lassa fever.

 

Constructed and selected medical facilities along the borders equipped to provide desired services to the populations.

Support provided to groups living with the virus.

Strengthened national medical facilities.

Common policy and joint programmes for control of communicable diseases operational.

Medical services provided in the health facilities.

Reports on activities undertaken.

The pilot phase of the HIV/AIDS/STI programme ended in March 2009. Securing support for the continuation of the programme as well incorporating TB, Malaria underway.

A sub regional meeting on lassa Fever was held in August in Freetown, Sierra leone resulting in the formulation of a five-year plan which is expected to be approved by Health Ministers before end of 2011.

Health Ministries of Member States, AfDB, UNFPA, WHO, Global Fund, NGOs, CBOs  
2. Education Uniform education policies and standards operational in Member States.

 

 

 

School going children having access education in critical areas along the borders.

Build human capacity for the public sector in Member States.

 

 

 

 

Provide and facilitate access to education for school going children in remote border areas.

Support the teaching of French and English

 

 

Trained personnel in public service.

 

 

 

 

 

School going children having access to schools in remote areas along the borders. French and English part of the syllabus of schools.

Documentation on those trained and where they are serving.

Public sector performance enhanced.

Constructed schools operational.

Assessment of past programme to be undertaken to determine need and scope of new programme to be developed.

Assessments to be undertaken to determine nature and scope of programme.

Member States, UN, bilateral partners,  
3. Women and Children  Modernized legal framework and development programmes operational for women and children consistent with UN Resolutions 1325 and 1820. Protect and secure the interest, well-being and advancement of women and children.

Implement the provisions of the Un Resolutions

Laws, procedures, policies and programmes in place to protect, secure and support the advancement of women and children. Approved instruments to protect the rights and advancement of women and children.

Projects and programmes in support of women and children implemented.

National and sub regional action plans geared towards addressing provisions of the two resolutions formulated and under implementation. UN, Member governments, UNOWA, UNICEF, UNIFEM, NGOs  
       

 

       

 

 

 

 

Annex IVa: Implementation plan for 2012

Intervention area Planned activities Expected output(s) Output indicators Timeframe Responsibility Cost in (US$)
Pillar I Institutional Revitalization and Restructuring

 

1. Institutional capacity building of the Secretariat Begin implementation of activities under the AfDB supported capacity building project – management study, staff capacity needs assessment, develop organogram, establish documentation center and communications strategy, set up financial system, provide legal services and cost the strategic plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepare design for the construction of a Mano river Union House.

 

 

Initiate construction of the MRU House

 

 

 

Undertake knowledge and experience sharing visits to the Mekong and Congo river basins including resource mobilization missions.

 

 

 

 

 

Support bilingual language training for staff of the Secretariat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staff capacity development plan

prepared and implemented.

 

Financial management system instituted and made functional.

 

Organogram developed for the Secretariat.

 

Three-year strategic plan of the Secretariat costed.

 

Established and operational documentation center.

All administrative documents, protocols and conventions legally consistent with international standards.

 

Communications strategy for the Secretariat.

 

Peace and security unit established.

 

Revised and approved staff rules and procedures manual operational.

 

Approved financial manual.

 

 

 

Architectural drawings completed and approved.

 

 

About 25% of construction work completed.

 

 

Secretariat with knowledge base to guide thrust and direction of forest conservation and management.

 

Resource mobilization enhanced.

 

Staff knowledge and understanding of English and French improved.

Enhanced service delivery within the Secretariat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building plan of the MRU House.

 

 

 

 

Physical construction in progress.

 

 

Systems and structures for the conservation programme more enhanced and functional.

 

Resource generation increased.

 

 

Speaking of English and French improved.

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat, Member States, AfDB, ACBF, Development Partners 596,750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

500,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5,000

2. Review and assessment of MRU past projects/programmes Prepare TOR for the review and assessment exercise to be undertaken.

 

Secure funding for the exercise.

 

 

Recruit Consultant(s) to carry out the assessment.

Approved TOR.

 

 

 

 

Secured funding and sources.

 

 

Report on the assessment carried out.

Clearly defined outputs for the consultancy.

 

 

Documentation on resources required for the assessment and sources.

Findings and recommendations of the assessment.

 

.

X  

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat

Member States

Consultants

30,000
1.3 Capacity development for negotiating and regulating investment and trade contracts in MRU States Engage the UNDP Regional office in Dakar on extension of project. Project extension endorsed and reformulated. Project activities restarted. X X     MRU Secretariat, UNDP, Member States  
1,4 Training of Senior Civil Servants in Member States Redesign, approve and sign the project taking into consideration new and emerging capacity needs of the Member states.

 

Begin implementation of activities in the approved project document.

Signed reformulated project document.

 

 

 

 

Project Implementation Unit established. Training activities carried out.

Report on capacity assessment needs carried out in Member States.

 

 

 

Report on training activities carried out.

Report on performance and impact of those trained in institutions they work.

X

 

 

 

 

 

X  

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

  50,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

350,000

 

 

Pillar II Peace and Security

 

2.1 Implementation of the 15th Protocol on Peace, Security and Defense Hold sub regional Technical/experts and Joint Security Committee and Summit meetings.

 

 

 

 

 

Support the additional establishment and operation of Confidence Building Units along the borders and facilitate the holding of five meetings in Gwekedu, Guiglo, Man, Kambia and Madiana.

 

Establish Security Unit at the Secretariat.

Technical and Joint Security Committee meetings held.

Approved framework for sustaining and promoting peace in the sub region.

 

Confidence Building Units established and operational.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terms of reference and modalities for operation of the Unit including staff in place

Report on meetings held.

Security architecture for the sub region in place.

Enhanced security conditions.

 

 

Reports on meetings of the Units.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Security information management and coordination in operation.

X X  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat

Member States

AfDB

Other Development Partners

150,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

75,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000

2.2 Border Management Formulate, approve and sign a border management programme.

 

Begin implementation of outlined activities under the programme.

Signed border management programme document. Clearly defined issues to be addressed under the programme.

 

Institutional, human, logistical, data management and reporting capacity enhanced at selected borders.

X X    

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat

Member States

Development partners.

50,000

 

 

 

 

100,000

2.3 Democratic Governance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hold meetings of Heads of Electoral Commissions.

 

 

 

 

Establish framework for supporting acceptable electoral processes in the sub region with focus on voter registration lists, voter education, sensitization and observation.

Sub regional framework for ensuring peaceful democratic transitions through elections.

Structure and nature of support defined and approved including membership of elections observation team.

Electoral systems and processes in support of free, fair and transparent elections.

 

MRU elections observation team.

Report on elections observed.

  X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

Member States, MRU Secretariat, civil society, development paerners 50,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

250,000

2.4 Agriculture and Food Security

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Establish Coordination Unit for the implementation of the MRU Rice Programme.

 

Implement the work plan in collaboration with WECARD/CORAF.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Establish the Food Security Hub in Liberia with associated structures in member States and a Coordinating Unit at the Secretariat..

 

 

 

 

 

Formulate and secure approval on a sub regional policy on agriculture.

 

 

Coordination Unit established and staffed.

 

 

Framework for facilitating movement of agricultural inputs as well trade in rice between the Member States established. Monitoring and reporting on activities carried out.

 

Food Security Hub established and operational. Coordination Unit established at the Secretariat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Framework for supporting and promoting agriculture in the sub region.

 

Coordination Unit fully operational.

 

 

 

Trade in agricultural inputs and rice carried out with ease.

Reports on monitoring visits and quarterly and annual report on programme implementation on file.

 

 

Record on recruitment of consultants to support the establishment and operations of the hub.

Food security database operational and regularly updated.

 

Approved policy in operation in Member States.

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat

Member States

WECARD/CORAF

FAO

Development Partners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

900,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

357,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000

2.5  Environmental Conservation and Management.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.6 Mineral Sector

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facilitate and support the appraisal of the MRU Forest Conservation programme to set the basis for its approval by AfDB Board and signature of grant agreement.

 

Establish in collaboration with the AfDB, the sub regional and national institutional frameworks for the implementation of the programme.

 

Initiate implementation of programme activities in line with the work plan.

 

Recruit consultants to formulate projects in support of environmental conservation and management.

 

Hold meeting(s) to develop and approve a sub regional framework for the exploitation of mineral clusters.

 

 

Approved programme document and signed grant agreement.

 

 

 

 

 

Implementation structures and systems for the programme established.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projects documents

 

 

 

 

 

Signed framework for mineral exploration in the sub region.

Conservation and management of the identified landscapes initiated.

 

 

 

 

 

Management structures at landscapes operational.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Documentation on formulation process

 

 

 

 

Exploration of minerals governed by the framework.

X X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Member States, MRU Secretariat, AfDB,GEF, AU, DfID, EU, USAID, NGOs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Member States, MRU Secretariat, WB, AU, ECOWAS

12,000,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

75,000

2.7 Youth Employment Monitor and coordinate the implementation of the current youth project focused on entrepreneurial capacity development.

 

Formulate new youth programme to help address the problems of youth in the sub region

Entrepreneurial training provided for 16 youth from the sub region in India.

 

 

 

 

Formulated and approved youth programme.

Trainees back home and engaged in productive business ventures and supporting other youth.

 

 

Capacity and employment problems of youth being addressed.

X X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MRU Secretariat, Member States, UNIDO 169.500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,200,000

 

Pillar III Economic Development and Regional Integration

 

.3 Transboundary Water Basin Management Sign grant agreement with the AfDB.

 

Begin implementation of project activities.

Signed grant agreement to facilitate project implementation. Project activities under implementation. X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Member States, MRU Secretariat, AfDB, GEF 1,185,793

 

 

 

 

 

3.5 Trade and Industry Recruit consultants to prepare a sub regional framework to facilitate the holding of a trade fair.

 

Organize sub regional trade fairs and investment fora.

 

 

Promote existing texts on trade liberalization and protocols on free movement of goods and persons.

 

 

Conduct study on the potentials and challenges facing the private sector.

TORs for the consultants, consultancy report.

 

 

 

Trade fair held and areas for potential investment exposed.

Sensitization and awareness campaigns launched.

 

 

 

 

Strengths, weaknesses and challenges impacting on private sector investment promotion documented.

Frame work for the holding of the trade fair.

 

 

 

 

New proposals for investment.

 

 

 

Trade facilitated and promoted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investment climate and incentives enhanced.

Recorded increase in private sector interest in investing in sub region.

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

  MRU Secretariat, Consultants, Member States

 

 

 

 

Private sector, Member States, MRU Secretariat.

 

 

MRU Secretariat, media, local artists, Member States

 

 

 

 

 

MRU Secretariat, Member States, Consultants

 

 

250,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

75,000

3.6 Infrastructure Prepare documentation to facilitate holding of donors meeting to mobilize resources for the construction of priority connectivity roads within the sub region.

 

Sign MoU between MRU Secretariat and the WAPP

Donor support secured to construct the roads.

 

 

 

 

 

Support for hydro power development secured.

Contracts signed with construction firms for the construction of roads.

Construction works initiated.

 

 

Regular dialogue with WAPP.

Monitoring and implementation of WAPP programme in the sub region by MRU.

X      

 

 

 

X

  50,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25,000

 

Pillar IV Social Development

 

4.1 Health Formulate programme to support Member States in providing health care delivery services to residents in border areas to address pandemic or infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria, TB and Lassa Fever as well issues related to maternal and infant mortality, immunization programme and diarrhea.

 

Develop and secure approval for a sub regional health policy.

Sub regional health concerns identified to be addressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sub regional health policy.

Framework for addressing concerns.

Projects formulated to address the concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooperation in addressing health matters.

  X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

  Member States, MRU Secretariat, development partners 500,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.2 Education Formulate a sub regional policy on education.

 

Construct bilingual primary schools in regions of need along the borders along with required curricula.

Sub regional education policy.

 

 

Areas identified and school construction initiated.

Policy operational.

 

 

 

Scholl going children in the areas having access to schools.

  X X

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

X

  50,000

 

 

 

250,000

4.3 Women and Children Monitor, lend support and coordinate the implementation of the sub regional action plan on UN resolutions 1325 and 1820.

 

Support and facilitate the representation of women in political decision-making and positions at all levels.

Legal and institutional structures in place.

Support projects formulated and implemented.

 

A minimum of 30% representation attained in all member states

Gender mainstreamed in national and sub regional development programmes.

 

 

Percentage of women in positions of authority and decision-making.

  X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Member States, MRU Secretariat, civil society, media, development partners 1,000,000
                     

 

 

Bibliography

 

  1. Declaration and Consolidated Protocols of the Mano River Union (MRU)

 

  1. Documentation on projects and programmes of the MRU

 

  1. Communiqués of Statutory Meetings of the MRU and Mini-Summits

 

  1. Reports on technical/commission meetings of the Union 

 

  1. Liberia’s 2006 National Human Development Report

 

  1. Poverty reduction Strategy Papers of the Four Member States

 

  1. UNCTAD (2007) Least Developed Countries Report

 

  1. State of Human rights in Sierra Leone 2007

 

  1. UNDP (2009) Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development, Human Development Report

 

  1. The growth triangle scoping study report on the adaptation of the concept in the MRU. Prepared by Dr. Kojo Asiedu and Funded by UNDP/Liberia, 2010

 

  1. West Africa Mineral Sector Strategic Assessment report prepared by the WB

 

  1. Scoping reports on the West Africa power pool

 

  1. Commodity booms in Sub-Saharan Africa (Senior policy seminar IX report)

 

  1. UNICEF (2008) The state of Africa’s children

 

[1] “Growth areas/Growth triangles” or “sub-regional economic zones” are less formal associations of two or more nations or more commonly sub-regions (districts, counties, provinces) of nations, and are designed to promote regional economic cooperation.  Their primary purpose is to give a competitive edge in export production.  This is characteristically achieved through a combination of “market friendly” public sector policy interventions and private sector investments; both designed to capitalize on existing and latent economic complementarities and construct a comparative advantage for the area and promote the competitive advantages of enterprises located within that area.  In other words, they are “flexible” mechanisms that can be effectively used to promote development.  Of particular significance is the “centre – periphery” relationship and a certain bias towards the “periphery” in the concept in order to quicken the pace of economic integration and social cohesion (MRU Growth study, 2010, pp17)

[2] The four growth areas have been identified and are reflected on page 17 and a picture representation of the growth areas can be seen on page 38, annex II.

[3] See Annex V for a comparative analysis of the ECOWAS and MRU strategic plans showing areas of synergy and supporting the proposition that MRU can serve as an implementing arm of ECOWAS.

[4] The role of ECOWAS in fostering economic integration in West Africa is already significant and at an advantaged position. MRU will therefore support the work of ECOWAS by serving as an implementing arm for the sub-region.

[5] The peace and security and the implementation of the growth triangle/growth area approach have been clearly elaborated in this plan. MRU serving as an implementing arm for ECOWAS needs further reflection and elaboration in the three-year review of this plan. The proposed strategy must present a clear delineation of responsibilities with ECOWAS and show the complementarities. If MRU is to act as an implementation arm of the ECOWAS, it must focus on building its capacity to do so.

 

[6] Even though in the past years debt burden is being lightened due to Member States’ participation in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

[7] See annex 1 for a more detailed presentation of socio-economic indicators in MRU countries.

[8] The government of Liberia, with support from UNDP commissioned an exploratory study on possible adaptation of the growth triangle/growth area concept in the MRU. The study identified the mentioned four growth areas. The results of the study were extensively discussed at a review meeting of the MRU strategic action plan in Liberia in November 2010 and a decision was reached to integrate results of the growth study in the MRU strategic plan. The growth area study of the MRU examines each of the proposed growth areas for economic complementarity, capacity for inter-regional trade and investment, assessed the opportunities and challenges in each GA, gave examples of successful GA cases in Asia and Africa, leading to the conclusion that the proposed areas have a role in ensuring sub-regional economic integration and maintaining peace and security.

[9] The border regions of MRU countries suffer disproportionately from lack of development, exposed and vulnerable to illicit activities and lawlessness (MRU growth study)

[10] See Wadley and Parasati (2000) Inside South East Asia’s growth triangles, Geography, Vol 85

[11] The Heads of MRU States and Government, in May 2008, at a Summit Meeting in Monrovia, Liberia, and later at a Mini-Summit in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 10 December 2008 identified the four focus areas for the MRU secretariat.

 

[12] The strategy was developed by Ministers of agriculture upon the request of Union’s Heads of states, in 2008.

[13] A strategy for the establishment of the food security Hub has been prepared with the support of FAO.

[14] See the figure below on mineral clusters in the MRU member countries. The figure is obtained from the 2010 World Bank study on West Africa Mineral Sector Strategic Assessment (WAMSSA).

[15] With funding from the World Bank, the MRU countries, through the Secretariat guided the work of a consultant to undertake a mineral sector-focused strategic environmental and social assessment – the West Africa Mineral Strategic Assessment – with the aim of identifying the regional policy, institutional and regulatory adjustments required for optimizing the mineral sector contribution to sustainable development in West Africa. This assessment, outlined challenges related to lack of adequate geological information on deposits; laws, policy and regulatory differences which require harmonization; low capacity to manage the sector; limited transparency and accountability, poor infrastructure; and limited qualified goods and service providers.

[16] A three days business forum was held in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire in October 2009. The forum provided the platform for the identification of sectors and areas that could attract investment and promote trade. Areas identified by the forum include infrastructure (rail network, roads, air, and water), agriculture with focus on food safety, mineral sector, fishery, energy sectors and tourism.

[17] A concept note of the project has been prepared and the sectoral priorities of this project include improvement of the management frame of the basin, preservation of the environment and the ecosystems of the basin, enhanced value of the water resources through the development of the socio-economic infrastructures and reinforcement of the capacities and implication of the parties

[18] The possibility exists for south-east Liberia to benefit from the excess power from the Cote d’Ivoire by constructively engaging in dialogue that would enable Liberia to have a link on the 225kva grid. This access will attract investment and speed up socio-economic development south east Liberia which has great investment potential. This region is one of the areas identified as growth areas/growth triangle.

[19] Sierra Leone has identified the key roads to effectively link Guinea and Liberia. Additionally, those to effectively link Liberia, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire will be identified and agreed upon.

[20] Collaboration will be sought in extending the UNICEF supported bilingual (French and English) border schools.

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