Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, has pledged to work for the rigorous implementation of the regional Protocol on free movement of persons with a view to boosting intra-community trade, hovering between 11 and 15 percent, and stimulating regional economy.
The flagship protocol, signed in May 1979, entitles community citizens to visa-free intra-community travel, as well as the right of residence and establishment in Member States.
“We want to eliminate the harassment of citizens at the borders and the impediments to free movement of citizens so that our people can move freely and leverage the opportunity to trade which will contribute to the economic development of the region,” Ouedraogo told the President of the NEPAD Business Group for Africa, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who called on him at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja.
He said the region possessed huge human and natural resources that “we will need to fully exploit for the benefit of our people by addressing constraints that hamper regional movement in the spirit of one vision, one people, one purpose.”
Addressing the challenges, Ouedraogo added, would also involve resolving the problem of dearth of infrastructure which will enable enterprises in the region to flourish, generate employment and enable the region realize its full economic potential as well as enhance its role in the global economy.
The President also promised to revive the focal points for NEPAD programmes in ECOWAS Member States in order to reinvigorate the implementation of the programmes as well as introduce an annual event for regional business groups to reinforce the contribution of the private sector to regional integration.
Earlier, Alhaji Tukur, who also chairs the African Business Roundtable (ABR) and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria, stressed the importance of reviving NEPAD to strengthen its contribution to the realization of the integration agenda of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
He called for increased collaboration between the RECs and the African Business Roundtable (ABR) which provides a platform for deepening the involvement of Africa’s private sector in continental development.
Alhaji Tukur briefed Ouedraogo on the initiative by the PDP to bring together the ruling parties in the region to discuss issues of common interest as part of efforts by strengthen democracy in the region.
-0- PANA PR/VAO 23July2012