ECOWAS leaders urge commitment to integration goals17 Dec, 2017
Abuja, 16th December 2017. Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have restated their unflinching commitment to the attainment of the integration goals of the regional Community.
The leaders made this known at the opening of the 52nd Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government which held on Thursday the 16th of December 2017, in Abuja, Nigeria.
Addressing the regional leaders, Heads of ECOWAS Agencies and Institutions, representatives of international organisations as well as the diplomatic community at the opening ceremony of their summit, the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and government and president of the Togolese Republic, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, also called for the sustenance of the institutional reforms.
He said the diligent implementation of all the provisions of the protocols on Community levy will help in no small measure in the implementation of the projects and programmes geared towards the realisation of the goal of economic prosperity and political stability among ECOWAS Member States.
Restating commitment to the regional goals as outlined, President Gnassingbe said “We will continue to pursue the collective efforts on peacebuilding and regional security”
He expressed the hope that the institutional reforms will revive the development of the different projects bordering on infrastructural advancement in the area of transportation, telecommunication and agriculture among others.
Also speaking, the host President and commander in chief of the armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari identified the challenges currently facing the region to include security issues in some Member States and the adjoining Sahel region, human trafficking and irregular migration. He highlighted the efforts put in place to check the malaise while thanking the Development Partners for their support.
According to him, the leaders will have “little or no excuse but to meet this challenges and to create more jobs for the youth of the region”
In his statement, the President of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel de Souza, admitted that the economic difficulties experienced some time ago by Member States did have some impact on the performance of the regional organisation owing to the reliance on Community levies. He however informed the gathering that the future is bright. He said in this regard: “Today, thanks to the bold recovery measures undertaken by the majority of Member States and mainly Nigeria, the region’s engine room, the economies of our countries seem to be experiencing growth again”
President de Souza gave a situation report on the situation in Member States currently experiencing political upheavals and others where elections have been and still being conducted.
Stressing the importance of greater commitment and earnestness in the daily management of the resources of ECOWAS, the president maintained that the Commission needs the support of the Heads of State to “continue efforts to reorganise its management and improve the efficiency of community projects and programmes”
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas told the august gathering that it is with tenacity and sustained engagement that the complex challenges confronting the region can be met. He stressed the need for ECOWAS Member States to “recommit to apply our protocols and national laws to make our community more dynamic, prosperous and stable”
Speaking in similar vein, the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU) Moussa Faki Mahamat disclosed that coordination between the AU and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) has not yet reached the desired level of synergy hence there is now a proposal to set up Permanent Delegations to the RECs to manage all aspects of our relationship between them and the continental body.
In his remarks, the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz who had the status of a guest, referred to Association Agreement between his country and ECOWAS and noted “We are linked by both geography and human relations. We want effective partnership between Mauritania and the ECOWAS region as the region faces challenges of terrorism” He enthused that having high hopes on this, the Mauritanian people know that they can count on the leaders for the conclusion of the Association Agreement.
After finalising their final communique, the leaders of the 15-Member regional organisation who paid glowing tributes to the outgoing president of Liberia and former chairman of Authority Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, are expected to sign the Community Acts and Decisions, among others.