Alva M. Wolokolie
Several delegates at the ongoing 22nd Session of the Summit of Head of States and governments of Mano River Union (MRU) member states have underscored the urgent need for the entire sub-region to be connected by means of a modern asphalt paved road network.
The delegates concern was contained in separate remarks made by distinct ministers of the four member countries, as the MRU Summit opened in Monrovia yesterday, April 29, 2013 at the Monrovia City Hall.
Delivering a keynote speech on behalf of Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Amara M. Konneh, Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan encouraged MRU leaders to connect their respective countries’ capitals by way of a conducive road network.
Minister Ngafuan told other delegates that the lack of road network across union member countries capitals was impeding economic growth, hence a barrier trade, as citizens were experiencing extreme difficulties in trading their respective farm or finished produce to the markets.
For his part, Sierra Leone Minister of State, Finance and Economic Development, Foday Mansary, told the audience that despite all of the improvement in peace, security and social development, the issue of asphalt road connectivity remains MRU greatest challenge.
“We share a common heritage with a great potential which should be used for the common good of our people. Therefore, our consortium effort in identifying our social economic potential and our collective commitment to finding concrete solution to the problem that affects the solid foundation of our economic growth must be given every attention if we are to survey this new global climate. I want to assure you that the main issue for discussion during this Summit and subsequently will be road connectivity, road network linking the member states of MRU with their respective capital cities,” Minister Mansary averred.
Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia (GOL) will today, April 30, 2013, convene the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Summit of Heads of State of the Mano River Union (MRU) in Monrovia. The Ordinary MRU Session will be attended by His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai KOROMA, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone; His Excellency Dr. Alassane OUATTARA, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; His Excellency Professor El-Hadji Alpha CONDE. Other dignitaries to grace the occasion include His Excellency Saïd DJINNIT, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to West Africa and His Excellency Mr. Kadré Désiré OUEDRAGO, President of the ECOWAS Commission.
According to a Ministry of Planning release, the Summit is expected to review and take decisions on recommendations made by the Union Ministerial Council (UMC) on important issues bordering on the MRU Secretariat relative to the implementation of decisions taken at the 20th and 21st Ordinary Sessions held in Monrovia, Republic of Liberia in July 2011 and in Conakry, Republic of Guinea in June 2012 respectively.
The Summit will as well take decisions on implementation of critical programmes in the interest of the Union, and on current developments in the sub-region and on the African Continent.
Finance and Acting Planning Minister, Amara Konneh, who would have chaired the Union Ministerial Council meeting on Monday, 29 April, was expected to brief the 22nd Ordinary Summit on outcomes from the UMC Meeting. High on the agenda for discussion at the Summit will be issues of peace and security within the sub-regional bloc, economic development and regional integration, as well as the Union’s position on other sub-regional and regional issues, especially the Mali civil conflict. Additionally, the Union is expected to also decide on its chairperson, and issues relevant to the MRU Secretariat.