By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy in Abuja
The government of Nigeria says most of the achievements recorded in the region have been in democracy and economic growth as Africa is today one of the fastest growing region recording an economic rate of 7 percent in 2013.
Reflecting on the gains without ignoring the many challenges the region is confronted with, Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan said the inflow of foreign direct investment in the recent past has placed Africa as a leading investment destination.
In his special welcome statement delivered at the opening of the 46th Session of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in Abuja, Nigeria yesterday, President Jonathan urged the Commission to continue to coordinate the full implementation of various economic integration programs of the Community in order to fast track the economic development of the region in the coming years.
On the other hand, President Jonathan reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to supporting peace and stability in the West African region with the belief that a politically stable West Africa will safeguard the vital interests of all citizens and at the same time a vital partner in the search for global peace.
He reminded the summit that the successful appointment of an interim leader in Burkina Faso affirms ECOWAS’ commitment good governance as well as its zero tolerance for unconstitutional change of government.
“We are pleased that we have remained to democracy and engaged with the situation in the country and that we were able to find a common voice in seeking to resolve it and the presence of Mr. Michel Kafando at this summit symbolizes collective strength and deepens political security in our sub region,” he said.
However, admitting to the continuous challenges in the sub region, the Nigerian President said prominent among them today is the ravaging Ebola epidemic which in the last six months has negatively impacted the region.
He recalled how Ebola has claimed several thousands of lives apart from negatively impacting the economies and called on member states as well as development partners and the international community to contribute generously to the ECOWAS Regional Solidarity Funds to help curb the virus.
He used the occasion to hail the efforts of the governments and citizens of the affected countries namely Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone for the strategy applied so far in trying to contain the virus.