ECOWAS to ensure all member countries access COVID-19 vaccines
The Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS says it is working assiduously to ensure that the region has access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Addressing members of ECOWAS Parliament at the ongoing 2nd Ordinary Session held virtually, the President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou pledged that when vaccines are made available to the region the commission will ensure the equitable distribution of the vaccines among member states.
Mr. Brou said the region will not be left out in the global commitments to accelerate the development and production of new vaccines, tests, and treatments for COVID-19.
He disclosed that discussions are ongoing with other stakeholders as they join the rest of the world in finding vaccines that will be made available to ECOWAS member states.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a huge toll on families, societies, health systems, and economies around the world, and for as long as this virus remains the entire world is at risk. “
Mr. Brou also highlighted some efforts and progress made in the areas of education, unemployment for youths, and economic development.
Also, addressing the regional Parliament at the virtual Session, the Vice President of ECOWAS Commission, Mrs. Finda Koroma said an additional 19 million Euros is expected into the ECOWAS Stabilization Fund this year by the German government.
The Fund, according to her, which seeks to address the economic stabilization of member states, currently stands at 19 euros plus a contribution of 3 million units of account from ECOWAS Commission which has accrued since 2018.
Mrs. Koroma said the fund would cover post Ebola countries like Guinea and Liberia.
She said the Commission was pushing for a stand-alone fund just like The Gambia that has 17 million Euros, for Guinea Bissau, some Northern States in Nigeria and Sahel countries.
Mrs. Koroma further explained that the Fund would look at three priority sectors with emphasis on job creation for women and youths and that it would be managed by a fund management to be established within ECOWAS Commission.
According to her, the fund will consist of several components.
“It will have four components as a private sector promotion and employment window,consisting of short term employment like labor, construction projects, maintenance of basic economic and social infrastructure as well as Medium term employment creation through investment in value chain especially in agriculture”.
The first component includes Vocational training; entrepreneurship training and skill development, managed by GIZ while the second and is in the provision of infrastructure.
“The second component is basic service provision and strengthening resilience. We will therefore look at construction or rehabilitation of basic social economic infrastructure such as schools, health care facility, water, sanitation, transport and energy especially solar energy and other types”.
“We will look at investment that enhances resilience such as housing, dam and urban sewage.”
The two remaining components, according to Mrs. Koroma are promotion of social Cohesion and good governance which will look at social dialogue and conflict resolution as well as strengthening local and national implementation capability.