Participants in the validation workshop of the draft final report of the study for the establishment of the Fund for the Development and Financing of the Transport and Energy Sectors (FODETE-ECOWAS) have agreed in principle to set up the Fund within an existing ECOWAS institution.
This was one of the conclusions of the meeting, which ended on Friday 14 August 2015 in Abidjan, the Ivorian economic capital.
The participants also agreed that the governance structure, operational procedures for the management and formula for the use of the Fund should jointly be prepared by the ECOWAS Commission, the Project Preparation and Development Unit (PPDU) and EBID.
The ECOWAS Commission’s proposed roadmap for the implementation of the Fund was another resolution put forward by the workshop. The roadmap highlighted the various stages leading to finalisation, review, adoption and approval of the final report of the study on the establishment of the Fund by the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in June 2016.
It also recommended that the Fund should be on the agenda of upcoming ECOWAS statutory meetings, namely Administration and Finance Committee (AFC), Council of Ministers and Authority of Heads of State and Government meetings.
Furthermore, the Abidjan meeting recommended that PPDU should expedite actions on awareness of the Fund, with the creation of a Website as well as enhancing the Fund’s visibility through the implementation of marketing and communication plans.
Regarding the levy on agricultural products as contained in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed recently between West Africa and the European Union, the participants agreed to draw the decision-makers’ attention to the repercussions of the levy on these products, with a view to enabling them make informed decisions.
It was, however, stated during the workshop that just like any other international agreements, the EPAs are still subject to new negotiations, and are therefore not «immutable».
Closing the workshop, the Director of Infrastructure and Information and Communication Technology of the Ministry of African Integration and Ivorian Abroad, and Chair of the meeting, Abdoulaye Alliagui, commended participants for their effective contributions and active participation in deliberations.
He urged them to give a faithful account of deliberations to their respective Ministers and regularly attend the upcoming FODETE validation meetings.
It would be recalled that, at its 36th session held on 22 June 2009 in Abuja, Nigeria, the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government directed the Commission, in particular the Project Preparation and Development Unit (PPDU) based in Lomé, Togo, to work closely with the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) and the African Develoment Bank (AfDB) to present modalities for the establishment of the ECOWAS- FODETE.
The idea of establishing the Fund, to which the 37th Session of the ECOWAS Authority, again held in Abuja on 22 February 2010 reaffirmed its commitment, was initiated on the premise that the Community is endowed with huge agricultural, mining, oil and gas resources that can finance the transport and energy sectors in the ECOWAS region, through Community Levy proceeds.
As was pointed out by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Ebrima Njie, at the opening of the meeting, preliminary findings of the study indicate that up to USD 340 million could be secured during the first year of ECOWAS-FODETE’s implementation, and the amount may increase to USD 1 billion in 2032.