Diasporian News of Sunday, 3 March 2013
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has set the end of 2013 or early 2014 for construction works to begin on the Lagos-Abidjan highway which is expected to link its member states.
President John Dramani Mahama, briefing journalists on arrival at the KIA from the 42nd Summit of ECOWAS heads of state and governments held in La Cote d’Ivoire said the heads of states have decided on a meeting of infrastructure and roads and highways ministers in March 2013 to speed up the process.
It is expected that the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor will stimulate the free movement of goods, services and persons and also alleviate poverty, boost regional integration as well as improving the living conditions of West Africans.
The summit also discussed the situation in Mali and Guinea Bissau. The report of the peace and Security Council showed that rebels in Mali have been pushed out and government forces have recovered most of the sovereign territory of Mali. However, the situation has gone into an insurgency phase with some suicide attacks thus discussions focused on how to consolidate the gains made so far.
It also considered France’s intention to pull out of Mali, where members proposed that the pull-out be phased with the deployment of AFISMA, with the French forces pulling out as more AFISMA troops were deployed, especially since it had not yet reached full strength.
They tasked Force commanders to integrate extra troops deployed by Burundi into the operations and urged countries that pledged at the fundraising in Addis Ababa to redeem their pledges, including Ghana, which pledged $3 million. The Fundraiser raised $450 million out of the total $900 million needed.
President Mahama said the transition period in Guinea Bissau was also extended to December 31, 2013 due to some difficulties that were encountered. Fresh elections would be held and a new government formed by the December deadline.
Other events at the summit includes the re-election of President Wattara for a second term as Chairman of ECOWAS, appointment of Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni as head of the African, Carribean and Pacific group of states (ACP), serving the remaining two and half year term of Dr Ibn Chambas, who was recently appointed by the Secretary-General of the UN as the head of the AU-UN Hybrid operation in Darfur and also got the Commission to accept and endorse the nomination of Mr Alan Kyeremanteng as the head of the World Trade Organization.
The President was met on arrival by Vice President Amissah-Arthur.