Nigeria/ECOWAS: China, ECOWAS agree on strategic mechanism for effective cooperation

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS and China have agreed to establish a strategic consultative mechanism that will provide the framework for defining and implementing their cooperation for greater effectiveness.

The agreement was reached on Monday during a working visit to the ECOWAS Commission, Abuja headquarters, by a three-member Chinese delegation, led by Lu Shaye, Director General, African Affairs Department, in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This comes barely a month after both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which China will provide US$5 million dollars in “deployable headquarters equipment” to the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF).

Also during the meeting, China offered US$200,000 in capacity building support to ECOWAS, one of the five priorities identified by the delegation, to enable the organization realize the objective of its ongoing institutional reform and repositioning for greater efficiency.

Mr. Lu called for increased cooperation with ECOWAS to strengthen the ESF through personnel training, joint exercises and material assistance.

Other areas identified by the delegation included enhanced political cooperation, peace and security, the fight against terrorism and transnational crime, economy and expansion of trade, which has reached about US$33 billion between ECOWAS and the country.

ECOWAS Vice President, Dr .Toga Gayewea McIntosh, who led the ECOWAS Commission’s delegation, lauded the burgeoning relationship with China covering cooperation with Member States and the Community.

While noting the region’s efforts to promote peace, stability and prosperity through various initiatives, the most recent being the Vision 2020 document, the vice president praised China’s support in securing international support for the region’s political initiatives including the deployment of peacekeeping troops.

He recalled the recent visit of a Chinese technical team to West Africa in February to evaluate portions of the regional coastal road corridor that require the country’s support for rehabilitation.

The vice president also expressed the hope that the Lagos-Dakar road corridor project being pursued by Community will be accommodated within the support for priority infrastructure  projects in Africa promised by the Chinese premier during his recent visit to the continent.

The Chinese delegation was also briefed on the region’s security challenges and responses as well as its infrastructure projects and priorities, including the road corridor project and the construction of a new headquarters building for the Community.
-0- PANA VAO 10June2014

10 Junho 2014 16:05:34

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