Business News of Monday, 8 December 2003
Abuja -- PRESIDENT John Kufuor of Ghana has hinged prosperity in West Africa on the successful implementation of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and the strict adherence to the convergence criteria necessary for the launch of a common currency by member states.
The 27th yearly summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) holds in Accra, Ghana on December 19.
Kufuor also decried the fresh warrant for the arrest of the former president of Liberia, Charles Taylor by the International Police (INTERPOL). Taylor is currently on exile in Nigeria. The Ghanaian President explained that if carried out, the warrant is capable of undermining the authority and the sovereignty of Nigeria.
His words: "Charles Taylor is a refugee, a guest of the Nigerian government and I don't expect the INTERPOL to impugn on the authority and sovereignty of Nigeria by going for Taylor, no matter what, without first clearing with the Nigerian authorities. Yes, we have heard that the INTERPOL is after Taylor, but I haven't heard anything like that from the President of Nigeria. Right now, I don't know the details, so I rather wait and see if there are any developments."
The Ghanaian President, who was in Abuja for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) told journalists at a reception held in his honour by the Ghanaian High Commission in Nigeria that there were prospects of peace and political and economic stability in West Africa. He said that both leaders and the ECOWAS institutions were doing all within their capabilities to achieve development and decline the increase of poverty, political and economic instability in West Africa.
Though President Kufour decried the inadequacies of member states at meeting the set convergence criteria for the final launch of the sub-regional currency, he explained that both the leaders and the ECOWAS institutions were doing everything within their capabilities to ensure the successful implementation of the currency and the NEPAD initiative for the growth and development of the sub-region.
He said: "I know that we are all facing difficulties, we all do not have the money to launch the currency, budget deficit is still in control, but the prospects are there, because we, the leaders remain committed and we already have technocrats in the institutions advising on the best approaches to achieving success. Similarly we have enlisted and continue to strengthen our partnership between the sub-regional and regional institutions with the G8 countries on the implementation of NEPAD's principles. We are doing all we could to rationalise principles coterminous with NEPAD, make Africa investment climate friendly, rationalise our customs, fiscal and monetary policies. We are also networking roads cutting across most of the countries of the sub-region, selling gas and accordingly, we are striving to provide good governance, respect for human rights and general state of security and stability in West Africa."
Kufour continued: "ECOWAS is doing good on NEPAD, but it can perform better. The East African Community (EAC) is implementing the NEPAD programme in East Africa, same goes for the South African Development Commission (SADC) in South Africa and the CEMAC in Central Africa. These sub-regional institutions are the building blocks for the implementation of NEPAD within their various domains.