By Vincent Ogo
June 28, 2021
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2015 launched its Integrated Management System known as ECOLink, an automated administrative and financial regulation system which is consistent with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and the attendant best practices. ECOLink is expected to improve the financial and administrative management of ECOWAS institutions.
The ECOLink project, supported by development partners including the European Union (EU) is a modernized management system with various parameters including automated payment transactions that permits electronic processing of requisition, vetting of documents, quotations from vendors, technical evaluation and Purchase Orders.
The initiative flows from the decision of the 65th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers held in Abuja in August 2011.
|ECOLink Project ECOlink Project was initiated Mid 2014 with the main purpose of transforming and improving key operations within the ECOWAS Community. A very important aspect of ECOLink project is SAP Public Sector Information System implementation and associated business and organizational changes. It is important to underline that, ECOLink Project is aligned with objectives of the Institutional Reform initiative and by its nature and purpose, is realizing ECOWAS’ strategic goals of improving efficiency and quality of internal operations.|
|Among ECOLink’s goals and objectives areStreamlining time-consuming business processes; Improve control over documents and document-oriented processes; Reduction of paper handling and manual processes; Faster access on information; Online access to information that was formerly available only on paper or other physical media; Improve tracking and monitoring, enabling identification and reduction of bottlenecks; Reduction of paper storage and elimination of lost documents; and Integrated applications that access standardized enterprise data for all ECOWAS institutions, agencies and offices.|
|Scope & Timeline The scope of the project is divided into two waves which ensure decent quality of ECOLink implementation. Wave 1 includes Accounting and General Ledger, Budgeting, Funds Management, Grant Management, Cash Management, Payments and Accounts Payable, Revenue Receipting and Accounts Receivable, Fixed Asset Accounting, Material Management, Procurement & Stock Management. Wave 2 accommodates elements such as Employee Self-Service & Manager Self-Service Portal, Human Capital Management, Payroll Accounting, Pension Management, Travel Management.|
|Beneficiaries ECOLink Project is expected to be implemented in all ECOWAS institutions, agencies, offices and zonal bureaus. ECOWAS Commission was selected as a pilot for the entire implementation which was launched end of February 2015. Implementation for Court of Justice, Parliament, WAHO, GIABA and other Agencies and Offices were launched in a staggered manner starting from Mid February until Mid May 2015. Contrary to the first impression, the entire ECOWAS Commission, including all Directorates and Units will benefit from the successful implementation of the ECOLink Project. Although Wave 2 implementation focuses on finance and procurement functions, it is important to underline that apart from the Finance and Procurement Units, all the programmes and Project Management Units will benefit from ECOLink, by having very quick access to financial and procurement information related to any prgramme. Consequently, it will provide ability to monitor and control all the financials of particular activities. In other words, all directorates and units using the service functions of Finance and Procurement, will benefit indirectly from ECOLink Project, with improved efficiency and quality of those services.|
|ECOLink Wave 2 is providing extensive and professional improvement of HR functions and Travel Management. That is another wave where all ECOWAS employees will benefit from this initiative, for example by having quick and easy access to their own personal data (e.g. Leave days due, utilised ones, outstanding, online Leave Requests, salary status etc.) and everything else with the click of a button.In summary, all ECOWAS staff are beneficiaries of ECOLink Project and we all are responsible for its success.|
|Project Team The most critical factor of every project and initiative is the human aspect. ECOWAS has made significant efforts to mobilize required skilled resources for the ECOLink Core Team Project Members. ECOLink Project Core Team is made up of 51 experts. Consequently, ECOLink is a build-up of the Core Resource persons in Finance, Procurement, HR and Travel Management, led by a Project Manager, Mr. Richard Awunyo, supported by the Project Management Office, a Supervising Consultant and a Change Management Consultant. ECOLink initiative is supervised by the Project Sponsor, Mrs.Khadi R. Saccoh, Commissioner for Finance with the full support of the President and Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission.|