Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) - West African leaders have welcomed the region's positive economic growth of 6.4% recorded in 2011, as well as the bright prospects for 2012.
Rising from their two-day Ordinary Summit in Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire, at the weekend, they also reaffirmed the need to deepen the regional integration process in order to alleviate the negative impacts of shocks and to provide better prospects for development.
''To this end, the Heads of State and Government commit themselves to the pursuit of efforts aimed at harmonising budgetary and fiscal policies among member states in order to ensure greater macroeconomic convergence.
''In particular, they reiterate their determination to remove the impediments to the effective implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and Goods and the Right of Establishment,'' a communique issued at the end of the 28-29 June meeting, made available to PANA, said.
In order to consolide the common market and reinvigorate the Community Development policies, the leaders instructed the ECOWAS Commission to step up the establishment of the Common External Tariff (CET) and to take all necessary measures to ensure the finalisation of the Community investments code and the implementation of the common industrial policy.
On the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the leaders reiterated their commitment to the swift conclusion of a development-oriented Partnership Agreement.
However, due to concerns over the juxtaposition of different trade regimes and the challenges posed by the ratification of interim agreements by Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to the integration process in the event a Regional Agreement is not concluded, the Heads of State and
Government underscored the need to find solutions to the main remaining divergences.
They therefore urged the chief negotiators of the two parties to endeavour, in a consensual manner and with the required flexibility, to find ways and means of signing, as soon as possible, an EPA that safeguards the interests of both parties.
The leaders further insisted on the need for adequate resources to finance the EPA Programme for Development (EPADP).
Presidents and Prime Ministers of 10 member countries attended the meeting, while the other member states sent ministerial-level representations.
The President of the African Union Commission, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in West Africa, and the representative of the President of the UEMOA Commission also participated in the Summit as observers.
-0- PANA SEG 2July2012