By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy in Abuja
The Authority of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government have concluded the 46thOrdinary Session in Abuja, Nigeria with several specific conclusions that would curb the deepening integration challenges that are rocking the gains in the sub region.
The summit of the Authority derived its conclusion from reports of the 73rd ordinary session of the Council of Ministers, the 33rd meeting of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council and the 2014 annual report delivered by the President of the ECOWAS Commission which took note of nine issues that might consolidate the gains made when taken into consideration in coming years.
The Authority’s action will affect its regional economic performance and consolidation of the common market, economic partnership agreement, sectorial policies, peace and security, issues of instability in Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea Bissau and the 2015 elections in five West African countries including institutional matters.
The Authority particularly welcomed the launching of the Common External Tariff (CET) in few weeks, the implementation of the various economic and monetary integration projects as well as affirming its commitment to the implementation of the incontrovertible instrument for the consolidation of the common market.
Another decision reached was to instruct the West African Chief Negotiators to expedite actions to organize as soon as possible the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as the European Council of Ministers had signed the text agreement since December 12.
On sectorial polices, the Authority also instructed the Commission to pursue its action of promoting the transport sector particularly its efforts in mobilizing the necessary resources to support the implementation of the various projects underway in the different sectors.
They further reiterated their commitment to promoting and upholding the principles of democracy, good governance, peace and security as enshrined in the relevant ECOWAS text thereby reaffirming the intrinsic link between peace building and security and achieving harmonious development.
Among other things drafted in the Authority’s final Communique is the need to pursue institutional reforms in order to ensure an effective implementation of programs.
Meanwhile, the Heads of State and Government have decided to hold its next ordinary session on May 28, 2015 in Nigeria.
Besides the West African Presidents and or their representatives who attended the summit, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa, the Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the Representative of the President of the West African Economic and Monetary Union Commission, also attended as observers.