Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has noted that threats of conflict and wars as well as cross-border crimes are endangering economic integration and cooperation in the sub-region.
Minister Ngafuan revealed these threats, facilitated by the very character of globalization, would require more political and security tools in the diplomatic toolkit of countries in the sub-region.
Foreign Minister Ngafuan speaking on the theme, “Regional Integration and Cooperation in Modern Day Diplomacy,” said integration has over the last 2 decades helped West Africa reduce barriers to trade and free movements of peoples and goods.
He said these gains are however not automatic; and member states will need to demonstrate renewed commitments to sharing economic gains equitably.
Minister Ngafuan warned if such commitment is not made practical, member states risk transforming integration itself into a cause for regional tension.
A Foreign Ministry release said Minister Ngafuan made these assertions when he delivered keynote address at the installation of officers of the Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute Student Government on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the weekend.
The Foreign Minister called on the future ‘Development Diplomats’ to push regional integration and cooperation forward, and to bring Liberia ever closer to that bright future attracting development through regional integration and diplomacy.
Minister Ngafuan pledged that his administration will work with the leaders of the Foreign Service Institute in achieving the collective vision of transforming the Institute into one of Africa’s premier diplomatic training institutions where future diplomats from the far-flung corners of the African continent will be adequately prepared to contribute more meaningfully to the forward march of the continent.