Nigeria: ECOWAS lauds EU, other partners for their support

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS Commission President Kadré Desire Ouédraogo has commended the European Union (EU) and other development partners, especially the World Bank, UNIDO and the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ), for supporting the regional economic and trade integration process and the West African private sector competitiveness programmes.

“While consolidating the common market, the two projects will enable our region’s integration into the global economy while ensuring the competitiveness of our private sector by improving the business climate,” a statement from the Commission quoted the President as saying during the official launch of the programmes at the Commission’s Abuja headquarters on Wednesday.

The EU is contributing some Euro 40 million to the progammes estimated to cost more than US$60 million based on an agreement signed by the West African region and the EU, under the 10th Development Fund (EDF). The GIZ, World Bank and UNIDO are the implementing agencies.

President Ouédraogo underlined the relevance of the components of the programmes, saying they will “not only contribute to addressing the challenges in the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU, but also asserts the important role the private sector plays in promoting West African integration.”

Acknowledging the excellent relationship between the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions in the implementation of “our common regional agenda,” he urged all the implementing partners to ensure the effective functioning of the projects’ coordination and monitoring mechanisms.

The President explained that economic growth and poverty reduction as the ultimate goal of the projects may not be attained without taking into account the “new social challenges” and the “consolidation of peace, stability and democracy in West Africa.”

Consequently, he commended the decisions by the last ECOWAS Extraordinary summit on the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease and the guidelines for a successful and consensual political transition in Burkina Faso following the recent political crisis in that country.

In his remarks, UEMOA Commission President Cheick Hadjibou Soumare thanked the EU and the other partners for supporting the projects, which objectives, he said, were in line with UEMOA’s priority progammes.

The Representative of the Head of European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Brian O’Neil, noted that “with abundant natural and human resources, improved access to markets and conscious effort in addressing the challenges of competitiveness, West Africa can become the next ‘emerging region.’”

Mr. Andreas Proksch, GIZ’s General Director, Africa, lauded the launch of the programmes, saying, they will promote sustainable economic development and enhance regional integration.

The impact of the projects, he said, would be felt not so much in terms of statistics, but how it “will help the people of West Africa to attain a better life in future”.

The World Bank Country Director, Nigeria, Mrs. Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, expressed similar sentiments, calling on all stakeholders to ensure quick and successful implementation of the projects.

Mr. Patrick Kormawa, UNIDO Regional Director and Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, assured that UNIDO “as technical partner will lead this programme to success as in previous ones”.
-0- PANA SEG 27Nov2014

27 november 2014 13:48:31




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