Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The President of the Commission of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ambassador Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, has pledged to do more ''for free movement of persons towards boosting intra-community trade.''
According to a statement from ECOWAS Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday, Ambassador Ouedraogo said he would work for the rigorous implementation of Protocol on free movement of persons towards boosting intra-community trade, which ranges between 11 and 15 per cent, and for stimulating regional economy.
“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,” Ambassador Ouedraogo told the President of the NEPAD Business Group for Africa, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who called on him in Abuja.
The ECOWAS President added that the region possessed huge human and natural resources which “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”.
The flagship protocol was signed in May 1979 and entitles Community citizens to visa-free intra-Community travel, as well as the right of residence and establishment in Member States.
Ouedraogo also pledged to help 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.
Alhaji Tukur, who also chairs the African Business Roundtable (ABR), stressed the importance of reviving NEPAD to strengthen its contribution to the realization of the integration agenda of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
-0- PANA MLJ/MA 24July 242012