Leaders pledge to collectively confront regional challenges as first ordinary session of ECOWAS parliament’s fourth legislature, opens08 May, 2019
Abuja, 8TH May, 2019. The President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Jean-Claude Kassi Brou has pledged to collaborate with the Parliament and other Community Institutions in order to collectively confront the Organisation’s regional challenges.
President Brou gave the pledge during the first Ordinary Session of the Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament which opened on the 8th of May 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The consolidation of democracy, regional economy, the conduct of peaceful elections, mounting security threats, attainment of greater stability and raising a collective bulwark against social upheavals, were listed as challenges that have to be surmounted to have a more prosperous and peaceful West Africa.
The ECOWAS Commission President disclosed in this regard that the Community will continue working with its partners to stabilise and protect the region from terrorism, piracy, cross-border crimes, inter-ethnic clashes, among others.
Maintaining that the region’s economic prospects are promising, given the good performance of major macroeconomic indicators, he stressed the need for consolidation of the right steps already taken while the Commission “continues to address the challenges of youth unemployment, migration, epidemiologic diseases, etc”.
Welcoming the new impetus given to the implementation of Supplementary Act relating to the enhancement of the powers of ECOWAS Parliament, President Brou stressed the clarity in the themes which relate to regional integration issues as included on the 2019 programme of the ECOWAS Parliament, such as the single currency, youth employment through entrepreneurship as well as the establishment of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs,) private-public partnership, among others.
Commending the initiatives, and reaffirming the readiness of the Commission to provide support in all the listed areas, President Brou said: “It is in working hand-in-hand and in synergy that we will achieve the objectives set by our founding fathers, that is, a united and prosperous ECOWAS, for the harmonious development of our people”.
Noting the need to boost cooperation, consultation and inter-institutional dialogue framework, through the frequent conduct of meetings, he said a new momentum, will be given to the implementation of joint programmes through the technical working committees just as institutional dialogue and communication are to be strengthened.
President Brou also harped on the fact that the support of the Parliament is invaluable in achieving greater visibility for ECOWAS in Member States.
He lauded the successful conduct of presidential elections in two Member States – Nigeria and Senegal including the peaceful parliamentary elections in Guinea Bissau – (in accordance with the July 2019 roadmap adopted at the ECOWAS Summit in Lomé) even though the recent parliamentary elections in Benin took place amid tension.
He pledged in this regard that ECOWAS will continue to strengthen its intervention mechanisms in order to support the organisation of peaceful elections in all Member States.
President Brou also paid tribute to the Nigerian leader and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, Muhammadu Buhari as well as other Heads of State and Government, for their continued support and assistance to Community Institutions.
Declaring the session open, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Cissé Lo, called forth the enormous impact of the founding fathers of ECOWAS in promoting the economic, social and political development of the region.
“ECOWAS has taken a big step in integration”. He said, while noting that the mandate of the Community legislature is nicely contained by the protocol of free movement of goods, persons and services.
According to him, the success recorded in the meetings which held in Accra (Ghana) and Conakry (Guinea) in 2019 allowed the Parliamentarians address the vital issues of the region, stressing the benefits of “the frank collaboration of the Parliament with the authorities of the respective countries”.
He also welcomed the excellent cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR as well as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).