Tunisia to be invited to accept ECOWAS membership, official says

Tunis, Tunisia (PANA) - As the north African state of Tunisia sets its sights on joining the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), it has announced that it will be invited to accept its membership at its summit in the Togolese captial, Lome, in December.

The Tunisian Managing Director of economic, political affairs and cooperation for Africa and the African Union, Karim Bachar, told reporters in Tunis on Wednesday that this would pave the way for a profitable cooperation.

Tunisia's move follows that of Morocco, which was given approval in priciple by ECOWAS at its summit last June in Monrovia, Liberia. At that same summit, Tunisia was admitted as an observer nation.

Mr. Bachar said the ECOWAS membership of Tunisia would involve several areas, adding that beyond trade there was the possibility of visa cancellation for nationals from ECOWAS member countries.

The agreement would enable Tunisia to enter the markets of African anglophone countries, Mr Bachar added.

Tunisian president Béji Caïd Essebsi on Tuesday received the ECOWAS Commission chairman, Marcel de Souza, in Tunisia.

The two men reviewed different discussions which Mr Souza held with Tunisian ministries and institutions, particularly the ministry of foreign affairs, with which he signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at the establishment of a movement order to promote economic cooperation between Tunisia and the sub-regional institution.

The protocol, which focuses on the agriculture, trade and development sectors, will be an opportunity to create a free trade area between the two parties.

Mr Souza said that ECOWAS, which brings together 15 member countries, is a promising market for Tunisia and opens new profitable perspectives for the Tunisian economy. This is because it is a free zone for goods and people and has huge economic and demographic weight, with more than 340 million inhabitants and US$630 billion in gross domestic product.

ECOWAS member countries are working to reach an economic and financial integration and to adopt a single currency by the year 2020.

Trade between West African countries and Tunisia only represents 1% of the global Tunisian trade, but the Tunisian authorities hope to increase it to more than 10%.
-0- PANA YY/IN/JSG/MSA/MA 23Nov2017

23 november 2017 10:07:38




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