Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament held a plenary session of the ongoing fifth Legislature of the 2023 Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, Nigeria on December 5, 2023. ECOWAS community commended President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone for his dedication to advancing gender inclusivity in governance.

The applause followed the insightful presentation of Sierra Leone’s country report by Honorable Veronica Kadie Sesay, the Head of the Sierra Leone delegation.

Highlighting a notable achievement, Hon. Sesay revealed that Sierra Leone now boasts 41 female representatives out of a 135-member parliament, constituting an impressive 32% of the total parliamentary composition. She attributed this substantial increase to a strategic amendment in the Public Election Act of 2022, specifically section 58 (2). This amendment mandates that for every three candidates nominated by a political party, at least one must be a female.

The ECOWAS Parliamentarians responded with resounding applause during the plenary session of the ongoing fifth Legislature of the 2023 Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Hon. Darbo Alhajie S. from Banjul, The Gambia, expressed gratitude to Hon. Veronica Sesay for the enlightening report and called upon other ECOWAS member states to emulate Sierra Leone’s commitment to fostering gender equality and women’s empowerment. The appeal resonated with the ethos of collaboration and shared responsibility within the ECOWAS community.

The country reports presented by Sierra Leone, Togo, Ghana, and Liberia covered a spectrum of critical areas, including political, security, health, human rights, environmental, economic, and social situations. The ECOWAS Members of Parliament unanimously adopted these comprehensive reports, reflecting a collective commitment to addressing multifaceted challenges across the region.

Sierra Leone’s initiative to increase female representation in parliament serves as a noteworthy model for promoting inclusivity in political spheres. The strategic legal amendment showcases a proactive approach to dismantling gender barriers, setting a positive precedent for other nations within the ECOWAS community.

As the fifth Legislature of the 2023 Ordinary Session progresses, the ECOWAS Parliament remains focused on promoting regional cooperation and addressing key issues that impact the well being of West African citizens. The commendation for President Julius Maada Bio and Sierra Leone’s commitment to gender inclusivity underscores the importance of fostering diverse and representative governance in the pursuit of sustainable development across the region.