The Executive Director of the Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica), Mr. Sammy Obeng, was recently selected to participate in the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France’s prestigious Future Leaders Invitation Programme (PIPA) 2024. Mr. Obeng’s selection marks a significant achievement, as he becomes the 13th Ghanaian personality to be chosen in the 35-year history of the programme.

The PIPA programme, hosted by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, brings together approximately 75 young leaders aged 25 to 45 from around the world each year. These individuals, deemed likely to hold influential positions in their countries, are afforded the opportunity to learn more about France and establish meaningful connections with the country.

During his one-week study visit programme from March 11 to March 15, 2024, Mr. Obeng engaged in high-level meetings and visits relevant to his interests and activities. He explored topics such as parliamentary communication, women’s leadership in parliament, and youth leadership in parliament, with a specific focus on the French National Assembly and Senate.

At the Assemblée nationale (lower chamber of the Parliament of France), Mr. Obeng met with staff of the Cooperation & Bilateral Relations Department, as well as those from the Digital Communications & Press Division. He gained insights into the history and evolution of the French Legislature, and experienced firsthand the online and offline measures implemented by the Parliament to encourage citizen participation, civic education on the work of parliament (particularly for children and youth), and the work of the press.

“This experience has enriched my understanding of some of the unique features of francophone parliaments, and I look forward to applying these learnings in the work that my team and I do as Head of a parliamentary monitoring Organisation that operates in many francophone African countries,” said Mr. Obeng.

During his visit, Mr. Obeng also had the opportunity to visit the “Clock Room” of France’s Ministry for Europe & Foreign Affairs, where he experienced the venue for the meetings that preceded the birth of the European institutions. This room holds historical significance, as it was where, on 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman gave the speech launching the plan for a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).

Mr. Obeng’s participation in the PIPA programme underscores his commitment to promoting transparency, accountability, civic participation, and inclusion in African parliaments. His selection is a testament to his leadership and potential to shape the future of governance in Africa.

About Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica): PNAfrica is a civil society organization dedicated to promoting open parliaments across Africa. The organization works with parliamentary institutions, citizens, civil society organizations, and the media to enhance transparency, accountability, civic participation, inclusion, and responsiveness in African parliaments.

By Clement Akoloh

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