President Akufo-Addo re-elected ECOWAS Chairman
The Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS has reelected President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as its Chairman for another one-year term.
That was at the end of the 59th Ordinary Session of the Authority held in Accra last Saturday.
President Akufo-Addo was unanimously reelected by the 14 Heads of State and Government who made it to the one-day summit, which discussed a number of issues, including integration efforts, the COVID-19 situation, peace, security and democracy in the region, the political situation in Mali, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and border issues.
This was contained in a communique issued at the end of the summit in Accra.
President Akufo-Addo was first appointed Chair of the 15-member ECOWAS by the 57th Ordinary Session of the Authority in September 2020.
He replaced President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, who had steered the activities of the authority for a year.
Presidents Akufo-Addo and Issoufou were also appointed as champions of resource mobilisation for the ECOWAS Plan of Action and directed the ECOWAS Commission to strengthen resource mobilisation efforts, taking advantage of their appointments.
The Authority Heads of State and Government took note of the 2021 Interim Report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, as well as the reports of the 46th Ordinary Meeting of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council and the 86th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, both of which were held in Accra ahead of the session of the authority.
The next ordinary session has been slated for Abuja, Nigeria, on Saturday, December 18, this year.
“The Heads of State and Government express sincere appreciation to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for his leadership in steering the affairs of the community,” the communique stated.
Reaffirming its commitment to deepen the integration process in West Africa, the Heads of State and Government, after deliberations, endorsed the main recommendations contained in the different reports and then considered some specific issues.
The authority also took note of the COVID-19 situation in the region, which revealed a stabilisation of the situation, resulting from efforts deployed by member states and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO).
It also took note of the vaccination in all member countries, with vaccines provided by the COVAX initiative, and saluted the recent decision of the G7 to provide additional vaccines for developing countries.
The authority encouraged WAHO to intensify its efforts regarding the mobilisation of partnerships for the production of anti-COVID-19 vaccines in the region and noted the need to introduce biometric passports in the region.
“The authority charges the President of the commission to work with member states and WAHO on the modalities to accelerate the re-opening of land borders in a safe manner during the pandemic, in line with the agreed ECOWAS Harmonised Guidelines for the Free Movement of People and Goods during pandemics,” the communique said.
Peace, security, democracy
The authority reaffirmed its commitment to the promotion of peace, security and stability in the region as prerequisites for the economic integration and development of the region.
On the political situation in the region, it reiterated its concerns over the crisis in Mali in the context of security challenges related to terrorist attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic, with its dire socio-economic impacts.
It welcomed the report submitted by the ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali, Mr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, sequel to his mission to Mali from 8th to 9th June, 2021 to engage stakeholders on the decisions taken by the ECOWAS Authority during its Extraordinary Summit held in Accra on 30th May, 2021.
On security, the authority said it remained concerned about the security situation in the region and reaffirmed its determination to relentlessly combat the scourge of terrorism. It strongly condemned the recurrence of terrorist attacks in frontline countries, namely, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.
The Authority expressed concern over the destabilising effect of the operations of mercenary groups from Libya and called for a concerted international action aiming at urgently resolving that issue involving the disarmament of the mercenary groups.
On electoral processes in the region, the authority welcomed the successful conduct of presidential elections in Benin and Niger, as well as legislative elections in Cabo Verde and Cote d’Ivoire.
“The Authority directs the President of the commission to provide the necessary support for the Governments of Cabo Verde and The Gambia during the upcoming presidential elections,” it stated.
On economic and regional integration, after a negative growth of 0.8 per cent in 2020 linked to the negative effects of the COVID-19, the summit welcomed the recovery in 2021, with a projected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.5 per cent in 2021.
It urged member states to accelerate the implementation of economic stimulus programmes and projects to support the ongoing recovery.
The Authority noted the need to implement sizeable financing plans for the economies of the region to support recovery and welcomed various initiatives underway, particularly the Paris Summit for the Financing of African Economies, as well as the G20 initiatives relating to the restructuring of the debts of developing countries.
The Authority commended the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) for launching a facility to support African countries, including member countries of the ECOWAS region and $22 million support to WAH0.
The Authority commended the Ministerial Committee on the Single Currency Programme for its diligence in implementing the decisions taken at its 58th Ordinary Session held by video conference on January 23, this year.
It took note of the road map for the launch of the ECO by 2027 and charged the Ministerial Committee to continue to work to resolve all outstanding issues.
The recommendation was for the adoption of the Convergence and Macroeconomic Stability pact between ECOWAS member states whose convergence phase covered the period from 2022 to 2026 and the stability phase from January 1, 2027.