Tunisia requested to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The pronouncement was made by the Tunisian Prime Minister and Head of Government Youssef Chahed on August 22, 2017 during the Tunisian African Empowerment Forum.
The president of the Tunisia Africa Business Council (TABC), Bassem Loukil, says that Tunisia plans to double the number of African students the country receives in its private higher education and vocational training to reach 20,000 by 2020.
Prime Minister Yousuf Chahed pledges to provide all the support to the African students who chose to complete their higher education in Tunisia.
ECOWAS is due to decide Tunisia's membership during the organization's conference in Lomé, Togo, scheduled for December. Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi is expected to attend.
On March 11, 2017, Tunisian Minister of Commerce, Mohsen Hassan, announced that "Tunisia has submitted official requests to join Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) and Central African States (ECCAS) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
Now, if you listen to ignorant and, perhaps, racist media talking heads who are threatened by the prospect of Africa's unity, they wish history be banished. They launched into distracting tautologies and look for damning corners while ignoring Africa's history and the fine print of today' vision.
There is also the "big fish in small pond syndrome," a malaise that gave birth to nominal independence as newly minted rulers remained pawns of their former colonial masters, turning their countries into client-states.
Opposition from a bunch of retired persons from the Nigerian foreign services is calling for Nigeria to block Morocco's admission or withdraw from ECOWAS. But these same persons see no irony as a British Commonwealth member. Their base argument rests on geographic expressions in Africa.
What is the meaning of AU's vision if nativist member states may suffer from degrees of mental allergies at the mere thought of functional unity - or is it easier said but feared? The rationalization and normalization of this neurotic resistance is a clear and present danger to Africa's evolution to self-mastery.
Does this not stand at odds with the spirit of the Lagos Plan of Action, Abuja Treaty, etc., that affirm the unwavering will of Africa to undertake her development on the basis of African solidarity and through economic and political integration? There is a Minimum Integration Program. Can these retired persons explain the fear of the Maximum? At what pace must progress be limited?
Israel wants to bring agriculture to ECOWAS. That was in President Buhari's speech last year, urging for the implementation. Are these retired persons the gatekeepers?
There was once a Casablanca Group powered by North and West African leaders for greater political integration. This history can be lived.
Go Morocco, go Tunisia. Bravo ECOWAS!
By Evelyn Joe
African Union Citizen