Entertainment and Events

Abidjan granted right to host First West African Festival of Arts and Culture (ECOFEST 2024)

The official inauguration ceremony of the First West African Festival of Arts and Culture – ECOFEST 2024 took place on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at the Palais de la Culture in Abidjan, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. This event was organized by the Commissions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), in collaboration with the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. The inaugural edition of ECOFEST will be held from September 21 to 28, 2024, in Abidjan, under the theme: “Culture, a catalyst for peace, diversity, and economic and social integration in West Africa.”

The primary objective of this prestigious cultural event is to promote the values and cultural identities of the people within the Community, with the aim of enhancing regional integration through the fusion of diverse populations in the region. Additionally, the festival seeks to usher in a new era in celebrating the cultural diversity of West Africa and reaffirm the pivotal role of culture as a driving force for integration, social cohesion, and the socio-economic and cultural development of the region.

The official launch of the 2024 edition of this regional festival was conducted by Her Excellency Mrs. Françoise REMARCK, Minister of Culture and Francophonie, representing His Excellency Robert Beugre MAMBE, Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire. The ceremony was attended by Her Excellency Mrs. Damtien L. TCHINTCHIBIDJA, Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission, Professor Fatou SOW SARR, ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, and Mr. Mamadu Serifo JAQUITE, WAEMU Commissioner for Human Development. Distinguished guests and notable figures from the West African artistic and cultural sphere also participated in the vibrant launch, which featured speeches, artistic performances, and a captivating choreographic display.

Abidjan was selected as the host city for the inaugural edition of ECOFEST, a decision deemed appropriate by the WAEMU Commissioner. He explained that the festival’s initiators originally chose the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire. Mr. Mamadu JAQUITE elaborated on the festival’s origins, stating, “It was during the ECOWAS UEMOA technical secretariat meeting on June 4, 2018, in Abuja that we decided to collaborate in bringing this project to fruition, which has been on the ECOWAS agenda since 1987.”

Representing H.E. Dr. Omar Alieu TOURAY, President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Madame Damtien L. TCHINTCHIBIDJA expressed gratitude to H.E. Alassane OUATTARA, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, and the Ivorian authorities for agreeing to host the first ECOFEST. She emphasized the significance of the festival for the West African region, stating, “In a joint effort to unite people and generate wealth through the creative industries, the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions have come together to co-organize ECOFEST, revitalizing the event and enhancing exchanges among West African Member States. This event aims to serve as a platform for multicultural and multidisciplinary exchange, reinforcing our commitment to preserving and promoting West African heritage in line with the directives of the Heads of State and Government.”

In commencing the event on behalf of H.E. Robert Beugre MAMBE, Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, Minister Françoise REMARCK emphasized that the decision to host ECOFEST was made by the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, who values all efforts that enhance regional integration. She expressed, “For the people of Côte d’Ivoire, it is a matter of pride to host, in the coming months, talents from various countries that share the values of peace, social cohesion, and tolerance with Côte d’Ivoire, contributing to regional integration in economic and social aspects. Culture serves as a reflection of our collective soul, showcasing our traditions, history, and identity. It holds deep symbolism and historical significance, and today we are initiating a celebration of the diversity of our artistic expressions, the richness of our heritage, and the vibrancy of our contemporary creations,” Minister REMARCK concluded.

ECOFEST, uniting the 15 ECOWAS Member States, including the eight from UEMOA, will serve as a platform to engage public authorities, as well as public and private stakeholders in the cultural sector, in promoting the cultural diversity of the West African region.

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