Tripoli- Libya (PANA) -- The Community of the Sahelian-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) member countries Sunday marked the ninth anniversary of the regional grouping set up in 1998 at the initiative of Libyan leader, Moammar Kadhafi.
The CEN-SAD, the largest African regional organisation in terms of population and area, seeks the formation of an overall economic union, and to foster investment in the agricultural, industrial, social, cultural and energy initiatives.
The organisation also aims at removing obstacles to the unity of the community by ensuring free movement of people, funds and goods as well as the right to citizenship, work, and property.
In addition, the CEN-SAD works towards promoting foreign trade through investment, joint land development, air and sea transport and communication.
Also, it seeks to co-ordinate educational and school systems at all levels including cultural, scientific and technical areas.
CEN-SAD's first summit was held in Sirte, Libya, on 14 April 1999, and was attended by Libya, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Sudan and Niger.
Central African Republic and Eritrea attended as observers.
Already, the 23-member CEN-SAD has an economic instrument, the CEN-SAD Investment and Trade Bank, which is temporary based in Tripoli, with a capital base of some 250 million euros.
The institution funds development projects in member countries and conducts various other banking, financial and commercial activities.