ECOWAS Council of Ministers holds session in Nigeria
By Adoba Echono
The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, is initiating and embarking on new programmes and projects that will have meaningful impact on the life of citizens.
The President of ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Touray, who stated this at the opening ceremony of the Eighty – Ninth Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Abuja, Nigeria, said these reforms will also foster close cooperation among member states and economic integration of the region.
Dr Touray said that the new management of the ECOWAS Commission is committed to delivering institutional reforms, restoring constitutional rule to Mali, Guinea and Burkina-Faso.
“Our management team assumed duty within a context of institutional reforms and important developments in the region and the world.
“The size of the Commission has been reduced as part of the institutional reforms, but the work of realigning the new structures and improving the processes and procedures of the Organisation is just starting.
“With this also is the task of ensuring that the programmes and projects of ECOWAS are redesigned to ensure higher impact on the lives of the Community citizens and also foster close cooperation among member states and economic integration of the sub region.
“While working on repositioning our Community institutions, we also have the task of continuing with efforts to restore constitutionalism in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea and to halt the reversals of democracy in the region through instituting a stronger regime against all forms of anti-constitutional changes of government.
“On the other hand, we have terrorism and violent extremism that persist in the region and threaten to spread from the Sahel to the coastal states.
“In this regard, ECOWAS is required to pool together different initiatives in the region and coordinate the effective implementation of its regional action plan against terrorism,” Touray said.
The Nigerian Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, charged the Ministers to come up with initiatives that will promote economic integration.
Ambassador Dada said that the Ordinary session of the Council of Ministers remains a veritable platform for reviewing the programmes of ECOWAS and brainstorming on, thematic issues of the region.
He said that the Session also creates a platform for providing substantive advice to our Heads of State and Government on the best way to advance our collective aspiration of an ECOWAS of the people.
“Indeed, this year’s agenda is robust, which is a testament to the commitment of ECOWAS Institutions and Member States to the integration and developmental goals of our region.
“At this August gathering, we will consider like we did in the past, several issues affecting critical areas of the Community through reports and memoranda on our agenda.
“As an assembly of stakeholders with a collective responsibility of deciding on matters relating to integration and development in our region.
“It behoves on us to discuss all items on our agenda with open mind in order to find solutions to the numerous challenges threatening our region,” Dada said.
The Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Minister Suzi Carla Bearbosa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, of Guinea Bissau who declared the two day session open called for the need to put measures in place that will strengthen governance in the region.
Ms Suzi Barbosa, said that the sub-region has been troubled by human and food insecurity, and incessant coup d’états, climate change and other issues.
Ms Barbosa said that the two-day session of the Council of ECOWAS Ministers seeks to come up with viable solutions which would be presented to the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of States and Government.
“Similar to what has happened in other parts of the globe, the economies of the countries of our regional community have witnessed the regressive effects of the covid19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine-Rissia.
“Through food crisis and scarcity of other products that constitute essential goods for our populations.
“Furthermore, our sub-region has been troubled by human insecurity and violent extremism, and more recently by new waves of coups d’état, guided by uncertain compromises.
“Which represents elements of fragility of some Member States in implementing mechanisms that guarantee the sustainability of the values of democracy and good governance.
“As a consequence, we are witnessing increasing situations of human poverty and vulnerabilities such as climate change, irregular rainfall, waves of internal displacement, forced migration, communities kidnapped by armed bandits, among others.
“In response to the challenges for better economic cooperation and regional integration, several initiatives have been put into practice at the level of each member state, but also at the level of ECOWAS institutions, coordinated by the Commission.
“I would you like to highlight the importance of 89th Session of the Council of Ministers, which coincides with an important moment for the implementation of reforms that can guarantee efficient functioning and the effective use of the scarce resources available.
“In this way, we are invited to look at various projects, through various presentations of reports, and to assume the responsibility of agreeing on them the necessary guidelines in favor of the challenges we face.
“From the financial situation and fulfilment of our obligations through managing our resources and implementing infrastructure projects that catalyze economic growth and consequent human development,” Barbosa said.
The ECOWAS Council of Ministers is convened to discuss issues confronting the regions and come up with recommendations to be presented ECOWAS Heads of States.
The Ministerial meeting will also focus on strengthening governance and political stability in the region, address food insecurity, terrorism and extremism among other challenges.
At the opening session, statutory appointees of ECOWAS Institutions; the new management of the ECOWAS Commission,
Heads of ECOWAS institutions took their oath of office administered by the President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Justice Edward AmoakoAsante.