Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Umaro Sissoco Embalo, Guinea-Bissau President, was at the weekend unanimously elected Chairman of the Authority of Heads of States and Government of ECOWAS, local media reported here Monday.
This came at the end of the 61st Ordinary Session of the Authority of the ECOWAS heads of state and government held in Accra, Ghana.
Embalo takes over from Ghana's President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who served the community for two terms from 2020.
Embalo now faces the vexed issues of political and security situation in the West African sub-region amid the rising cost of food occasioned by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The new chairman also comes against the difficult task of mobilizing the bloc to restore constitutional rule to Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali, now under military authorities and under sanctions for their unconstitutional forms of government.
President Akufo-Addo hands over the position after providing strong leadership that helped the region to manage the COVID-19 crisis.
He is widely credited with rallying his counterparts to respect the term limits of their tenures.
President Akufo-Addo, who chaired his last meeting of the Authority, urged the bloc to adopt a coordinated approach to address the security concerns in the region.
He also impressed his counterparts to commit to the implementation of the regional action plan against terrorism.
“Our determination in this end must be stronger than ever and equally unshaken must be our resolve to maintain the stability of our region and of its member states,” he said
The President also urged member states to focus more on agriculture to enable the region to attain food sufficiency amidst the rising prices of food occasioned by the Russian war in Ukraine.
He entreated member states to stay vigilant against the COVID-19 pandemic because "the threat is still around", adding that the region could not afford another hit of the pandemic when it is contending with serious and destabilizing political and security threats.
“The management of this pandemic illustrates our organization’s ability to unite our energies to face a significant common threat. However, we must continue to remain vigilant as COVID-19 is still around,” he said.
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