The Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) has said that its sub-regional radio and television channels will come on stream in 2017.
Dr Isaias Barreto da Rosa, the ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Telecommunication and Information Technologies, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.
Acccording to him, the setting up of the station will promote integration in the sub-region and help project the identity of its people.
“Back in year 2000, the Heads of State of our 50 member states decided on the establishment of a radio and television channel for the community.
“The idea behind this is to promote the West African identity.
“We have free movement of goods and people, a common passport for the entire sub-region.
“We are about to launch a biometric ID card that would allow people to move and settle in any ECOWAS member state without resident permit.
“We have been making tremendous progress as far as regional integration is concerned.
“Setting up a television channel is a very expensive project.
There was a prefeasibility study, but we are at the initial phase of this project and we are going to run a feasibility study which will give us real estimate of how much this will cost.
“We are at the initial stage and we are reaching out to partners so we can move ahead with this project for our sub-region.
“We are aiming at 2017 for the launching of this radio and television channel.”
The commissioner said that the project would provide adequate information about ECOWAS, its visions, projects, programmes, successes and challenges.
He explained that the existence of the radio/ television channel would help in enlightening the people and enhancing their participation in the realisation of the vision and objectives of the sub-region.
Barreto da Rosa further said that the commission would collaborate with local media organisations and the private sector to bring the project to fruition.
He added that the collaboration will cut across the multilingual composition of the subregion.
“The promotion of the West African identity, values, the plural characteristics of the member states and the aspects that unite the 300 million people that live within the sub-region, are the core objectives of this radio and television channel.
“Since this will be a West African radio and television channel, we will work to make this channel reach all West African citizens with the language issues taken into consideration.
“One of the core aspects of this channel is that we will not be competing with any local radio and television station within the sub-region.
“We will be partnering with them because we believe that through exchange of content, we could indeed broadcast content from other media organisations to the most remote areas of the sub-region.”
Barreto da Rosa also stated that the commission will cooperate with the different partners as the project unfolds.
He hinted that the ECOWAS Heads of States and Government will decide the most suitable location for the radio/television channel.