Out-going ECOWAS Executive Secretary Takes Stock

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- Out-going Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Lansana Kouyate, Wednesday took a retrospective look at his four-year tenure and proclaimed it a success.
But the Guinean diplomat said the sub-regional organisation had much more to do to achieve its objective of integrating the people of West Africa.
"Many things have been achieved but we have a long way to go," Kouyate said, while handing over to his successor, Ghanaian Mohamed Ibn Chambas, at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja.
The 51-year-old diplomat listed some of the achievements under his tenure to include the abolition of visa system for travellers within the 15-member States; direct-line telecommunications among member States; adoption of ECOWAS passport, which has so far being issued by Benin and Mali, as well as the success of ECOBANK as a symbol of private sector promotion.
But he said the borders "are consistently facing a myriad of controls, road blocks, barriers to prevent free movement among member States.
" Saying travelling within the sub-region remained a headache, Kouyate expressed the hope that the "Secretariat will continue to fight to dismantle the barriers without mortgaging security.
" He also expressed the hope that the 2003 target for the realisation of the second monetary zone would be met, and that the maintenance of peace and stability in the region would continue to be a priority because "it is key to any integration process.
" Kouyate thanked the Secretariat staff for their commitment and dedication in revamping ECOWAS, and expressed the confidence that the staffers would continue to assist his successor.
"I am glad at the choice of Chambas as Executive Secretary of ECOWAS.
There is no doubt that his experience, humility and knowledge of West African and African issues will help him to achieve the ultimate goal of ECOWAS.
"I am honoured to have as successor, a man who can take in his capable hands, the destiny of our sub-region," he said.
The hand-over ceremony was witnessed by some ECOWAS staff and the media.

06 february 2002 15:09:00

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