Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS Commission President Kadire Desire Ouedraogo has pledged to accelerate the progress of regional integration and consolidate the activities of ECOWAS institutions.
Addressing the ordinary session of the Third Legislature of the Community Parliament, which opened in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, last week, the President promised among other measures, “to strengthen actions to make the community a peaceful and safe region in line with democratic principles”.
He also pledged to speed up the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) and the Trade Liberalization Scheme (TLS).
The President, who assumed office last March with the full complement of a new management team that includes a new Vice-President and six Commissioners, promised to work for accelerated macroeconomic convergence of the economies of the 15 member states of the Community “through a rigorous application of fiscal and monetary policies and effective implementation of multilateral surveillance mechanisms”.
He also expressed his commitment to expedite the development of the Community Investment Code, the implementation of the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy and the finalization of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with the European Union, “with a view to signing an agreement underpinning development and pursuant to regional building efforts.”
Furthermore, the ECOWAS chief pledged to sustain efforts on regional infrastructure development; to ensure the application of Community laws, particularly in the area of free movement of persons and goods, and to continue cooperation with countries in “a win-win partnership.”
The President highlighted efforts by the Commission and partners in response to the political and security challenges in the region in the first quarter of 2012.
These include the crises in Guinea-Bissau and Mali, following the coup d’états that interrupted democratic processes
in both countries, the outbreak of terrorism (Boko Haram in Nigeria) and the resurgence of rebellion and crime in the Sahel linked to the Libyan crisis.
He also enumerated activities and achievements of the Commission and other Community Institutions towards improving transportation and energy supply, as well as in combating drug trafficking and the tripartite agreement involving the Commission, Cuba and Venezuela, in support of the ECOWAS Campaign to eliminate Malaria from the region by
Also listed were accomplishments of the Community Court of Justice in the dispensation of justice, the activities of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in West Africa (GIABA), the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), which mobilized
about US$160 million in 2011 alone.
After an overview of the global economic performance characterised by a decline in the economic growth, President Ouedraogo noted that despite its many challenges, the region has recorded tangible achievements in the strengthening of regional integration progress through the implementation of the ECOWAS Work Programme.
“These tangible results are the product of the close collaboration between the Community institutions and member states,” he said. “More significantly, the strong support of your institution has led to a significant step towards the realization of economic and monetary union in West Africa.”
The Speaker of the Community Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and his colleagues congratulated President Ouédraogo on his appointment and thanked him for his efforts towards the realisation of the ideals of regional integration.
-0- PANA SEG 20May2012