Monday, July 02, 2019 /
10.00AM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit:
The Economic Community of West African States recently concluded its 55th Ordinary General Assembly of the Authority of Heads of States in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.
At the end of the Summit which had President Muhammadu Buhari, the ECOWAS Chairman presiding, a few key decisions were taken, including the following:
A New Chairman
At the end of the 55th ECOWAS Ordinary General Assembly of Heads of State, a new Chairman emerged taking over from President Muhammadu Buhari. He is the President of Niger Republic H.E Issoufou Mahamadou who will now lead the affairs of the West African Sub-regional body.
Sub-Regional Economic Performance
The ECOWAS Heads of State expressed satisfaction over the improvement in the sub-regions economic growth. In 2018 the West Africa sub-region grew by 3.1% in 2018 as against 2.4% in 2017.
The improvement was the result of higher commodity prices and increased agricultural output and investment in infrastructure.
The ECO Currency
At the 55th Session of ECOWAS Heads of State, the monetary framework for the sub-region came under review and the single currency “ECO” was adopted.
The Authority of the Heads of State also instructed the ECOWAS Commission and Central Banks to accelerate the operationalization of the Special Fund for the financing of programmes in the revised Roadmap for the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme.
ECOWAS Prize For Excellence To Three Outstanding West Africans
The ECOWAS Commission in recognition of the immense contribution of three of its citizens presented awards of excellence, some of which were posthumous.
The recipients include:
Promoting Peace and Stability in the Sub-Region
The ECOWAS Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State welcomed the Joint Operational Cooperation known as the “Accra Initiative” between Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Togo to combat terrorism and the outcome of the meeting of the Heads of State held in Accra, Ghana on 22nd February 2019.
The ECOWAS Leaders restated their commitment to political stability in Benin, Togo, Guinea Bissau and Mali.
Prospects for Abidjan-Lagos Highway
Described as one of the significant infrastructure projects that will shape the West African sub-region, the proposed Abidjan-Lagos Highway took top priority in the discussion of Heads of State.
The Authority welcomed the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Management Authority (ALCoMA), which will be responsible for the construction, management and operation of the Abidjan-Lagos Highway on behalf of the five Member States of the Corridor. (Nigeria, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo).
Enhancing Free Movement of Goods and Services in ECOWAS Region
The 55th Ordinary Assembly of ECOWAS Heads of State commended the Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) Presidential Task Force in removing the barriers to the free movement of persons and goods and calls on the Member States.
One of the major challenges in driving cooperation and integration in the West African sub-region has been the issue of free movement of goods and services, and the ETLS needs to be strengthened to carry out this mandate effectively with mutual benefits guaranteed for all members.