The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met in Nigeria to review the state of the implementation of the recommendations of the strategic Orientation Committee.
In attendance at the two-day Technical Working Group, which began on Tuesday, 17 September 2019, in Abuja, was the European Union (EU) and Commission of the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU). Opening the meeting on behalf of Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the Commissioner for Telecommunications and Information Technology, Dr Zouli Bonkoungou, informed members of the Technical Working Group about recent developments within the Community and activities and programmes undertaken by the Commission under the eleventh European Development Fund (EDF). The review was facilitated under the governance of the EU West Africa Regional Indicative Program (RIP) 2014-2020.
A statement by the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja said that Bonkoungou highlighted the devastating effects of the security challenges being encountered in the Community. It noted that more than 2 168 terrorism-related incidents, resulting in over 11 500 deaths, have been reported in the region during the period of 2015 to 2019. The statement also highlighted that inter-communal clashes are ten times more prevalent today than in 2015.
“As a response to the resurgence of terrorism in our area, the Heads of States and Government of ECOWAS Member States, Mauritania, Chad and Cameroun met in an extraordinary summit on 14 September 2019 in Burkina Faso, where they identified short-term measures to stem the spread of terrorism in the region and mobilize regional and international partners to provide the necessary support to address them”, he said.
He also briefed the TWG on the harmonization of the regional macroeconomic framework with reference to the creation of the ECOWAS Single currency and the Commission’s continued efforts to strengthen democracy and good governance, improve infrastructure, energy, food security and the free movement of people, goods and services within the region.
In his address, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Kurt Cornelis reiterated the EU’s commitment to the development and economic integration of West Africa.
He said that the EU would continue to partner with ECOWAS and the WAEMU Commissions in order to increase investments in the region, create a conductive environment for businesses to thrive and develop human capital.
The Head of the EU delegation also stressed the need for job creation in the region as “Africa produces 11 million people eligible to enter the labour market yearly which will see it having the largest work force in the world by 2040,
He further briefed the TWG on the priorities of the president-elect of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who described ECOWAS as a natural partner to the EU.