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General News of Sunday, 20 June 2021

Source: GNA

ECOWAS Commission President reaffirms commitment to sub-region's development

Dr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President, ECOWAS Commission Dr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President, ECOWAS Commission

Dr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, has reaffirmed the bloc’s commitment to working together to ensure the development of West Africa subregion.

Speaking at the 59th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government Summit in Accra, Dr Brou expressed gratitude to ECOWAS leaders for their efforts towards regional integration.

Dr Brou also expressed gratitude to them for their support to all ECOWAS Institutions in the discharge of their mission.

The Summit, which was formally opened by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, is being attended by the ECOWAS Member States, except Mali, due to a military coup d'etat.

Mr Brou paid special tribute to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for his continued commitment and support in the implementation of the major integration projects of ECOWAS.

On the political front, the ECOWAS Commission President said the subregion had just completed an electoral cycle with seven presidential elections and several legislative elections in 14 months, following the constitutional timetable of the Member States concerned, thus strengthening their democratic gains.

He noted, however, the socio-political crisis in Mali remained a concern given the risks of instability for that country and the Region.

"It is, therefore, imperative that the decisions you took at the Extraordinary Summit in Accra on 31 May 2021 are implemented, particularly about adhering to the 27 February 2022 date for presidential elections," he said.

He said under their instructions at the Extraordinary Summit of 2 February 2021, a draft ECOWAS Institutional Reform would be submitted to ECOWAS leaders.

He said the reform aimed at strengthening the efficiency of ECOWAS Institutions and streamlining their operating costs.

Mr Brou said this draft was considered during an extraordinary session of the Council of Ministers, the conclusions of which would be presented to ECOWAS leaders.

He said following a one per cent decline in 2020, the subregion should return to positive economic growth in 2021, projected at 3.4 per cent, the same level as the pre-COVID period.

He noted that, however, this growth was still unsatisfactory and would remain below the average for the continent.

"We must, therefore, continue to increase public and private investment in infrastructure and human capital," he said.

To this end, the concrete implementation of the conclusions of the Paris Summit on the Financing of African Economies as well as the G20 Initiative on debt treatment beyond the debt service suspension was urgently required.

He said in terms of intra-regional trade, which had been greatly affected by border closures and COVID-19, he welcomed the reopening of the borders between Nigeria and Benin and Niger, and between Guinea and Sierra Leone.

"We also welcome the signing of an Agreement this morning for the reopening of the border between Senegal and Guinea," Mr Brou said.

"We hope that a solution will be found on the closure of the border between the Guinea, and Senegal and the Guinea Bissau."