Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS Commission President James Victor Gbeho has urged countries in the region to adopt preventive measures to avoid the contagion of the global economic crises in the advanced countries of the world.
In his remarks at the opening of the 67th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers on Monday, at the Commission's headquarters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, President Gbeho said the disturbing developments in the global economy was epitomized by the ongoing financial crisis in the Euro Zone, West Africa’s main training partner, and other developed economies.
Although the regional economy has maintained a robust growth of more than six percentage points despite the crises, thanks mainly to prudent macro-economic management of national economies and favourable prices of the region’s materials, he urged West Africa to respond appropriately to the new challenges.
During the two-day meeting, the President said the ministers would be updated on the status of implementation of Community Programmes and the current state of affairs regarding external partnerships, including the current state of the region’s negotiations with the European union on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
They will also be briefed on efforts being made to develop complimentary trade and economic relations with the emerging economies, particularly China, India and Brazil.
The Commission will equally acquaint the Ministers with Community efforts at consolidating peace and security in the region, in particular measures being undertaking to confront emergent challenges, including maritime security and terrorism.
He said the current Council session is also critical for two reasons – being the last one for 2011 and which should set the agenda for stock-taking of the Commission’s endeavours not only over the last year and readjust the goals for the coming year, but also to review the work of the first team of Commissioners since the transformation of the institution in 2007 from Executive Secretariat to a Commission.
In this regard, Council will be notified about the implementation of the Decisions of the Authority of Heads of State and Government and Council’s recommendations aimed at realizing the goal of an “ECOWAS of Peoples,” an ECOWAS Commission statement quoted the President as saying, adding that Council would also be informed about efforts to usher in new Commissioners.
In his opening address, the Chairman of Council and Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, described 2011 as very encouraging for ECOWAS’ integration, especially in respect of political stability and democratic governance.
He said under the Chairmanship of President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, ECOWAS has seen the continuous entrenchment of democracy and democratic values in the region, citing successful elections in the Republic of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Conakry, Niger, Nigeria, Cape Verde and Liberia.
He commended the ECOWAS Commission and member states for contributing immensely to the successful conduct of these elections and called on the member states to continue on the democratic path to entrench transparency and good governance, a pre-requisite for political stability, peace and sustained economic development.
-0- PANA SEG 20Dec2011