Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - Member countries of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) were Friday marking the 13th anniversary of the regional group, launched in 1998 at the initiative of Libyan leader Moammar Kadhafi.
As part of the anniversary celebration, the organisation is to review its objectives and operational mechanisms to make it more dynamic.
In a statement made available to PANA, the CEN-SAD General Secretariat said following the resolutions of the 12th session of CEN-SAD Heads of State, held in N'Djamena, Chad, 22-23 July 2010, a ministerial committee was formed with the task of reviewing the objectives and programmes of the organisation to enable it accomplish sustainable economic, social and cultural development.
CEN-SAD held its first summit in Sirte, Libya, 14 April 1999 with the participation of the founding countries - Libya, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Sudan and Niger - which were later joined by .
the Central African Republic and Eritrea.
The second summit, held in N'Djamena, Chad, 4-5 February 2000, provided the opportunity for Senegal, Gambia and Djibouti to join the group.
Khartoum, Sudan, hosted the third summit 12-13 February 2001, when Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria and Somalia signed on.
Togo and Benin, which became members of the organisation at the fourth Summit in Sirte 6-7 March 2002, brought the number of member states to 18.
The fifth summit of the regional organisation was held 14-15 March 2003 in Niamey (Niger), while the sixth summit was held in Bamako (Mali) in May 2004 and saw the addition of Liberia, Guinea Bissau and Cote d'Ivoire.
The seventh summit was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 1-2 June 2005, during which Sierra Leone and Ghana joined, bringing the number of member countries to 23.
Tripoli hosted the 8th summit 1 June 2006, while the ninth summit was also held in Sirte, Libya, 2-3 June 2007 and was marked by the addition of the Comoros and Guinea Conakry, bringing the number of member countries to 25.
Kenya, Mauritania as well as Sao Tome and Principe joined CEN-SAD during the 10th summit in Cotonou, Benin in June 2008, bringing the number of members countries to 28.
The organisation covers an estimated population of over 350 million inhabitants and an area that exceeds half of the African continent.
CEN-SAD has the objective of building a comprehensive economic union and encouraging investment in the agricultural, industrial, social, cultural and energy fields.
The organisation also seeks to remove obstacles to unity within the community by implementing measures on the free movement of persons and goods, as well as the right for citizens to live, work, own property, lead various economic activities in other member countries.
CEN-SAD also works to promote foreign trade through a policy of investment, growth and development of means of transport and communications by land, air and sea through joint projects.
Following is a full list of the member-states of CEN-SAD: Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Togo and Tunisia.
-0- PANA BY/FA/JSG/JEN/SEG 4Feb2011