President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the leadership of ECOWAS to work to build a united, economically prosperous, politically stable, and secured community that meets the aspirations of the people in the region.
“As we round off the implementation of ECOWAS Vision 2020, and finalise the development of Vision 2050, we should to strive to make ECOWAS a community in which our dreams of prosperity, peace, security, integration and development are realised for the well-being of its citizens,” he said.
The President made this known yesterday when he paid a working visit to the offices of the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, capital of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Addressing a gathering of Commissioners and staff of the Commission, he explained that the purpose of his visit was to interact with the management and staff of Community Institutions on the collective agenda on integration and development of West Africa.
“The challenges in the areas of democracy, health, security, economy, trade and currency, must be addressed in a spirit of genuine cooperation and solidarity, if we are to overcome them, which I am confident we can. I believe that, collectively, we can all make ECOWAS the most viable regional bloc in Africa, and realise the vision of transforming ECOWAS from ‘a body of states to a community of peoples’,” President Akufo-Addo said.
To this end, the President outlined his 5-point Agenda for the chairmanship of the Community, which, he said, are the fight against terrorism; winning the fight against COVID-19; trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); the issue of a monetary union in ECOWAS; and, lastly, the consolidation of democratic governance in the region.
He also commended the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, and, indeed, the Commission for the achievements chalked in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture and humanitarian assistance.
“In the infrastructure, I am aware that the Commission and its specialised agencies are implementing a number of infrastructure projects in the road, rail, maritime, energy and telecommunications sectors,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “I encourage the Commission to accelerate the implementation of infrastructure projects such as the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project, the Praia-Dakar-Abidjan Corridor Development Programme, and the Dakar-Bamako Railway Project. On telecommunications, the issue of high cost of roaming services should be resolved as soon as possible.”
Touching on agriculture, the President stated that the issue of food security is vital to the development of the Community, as the twin shocks of terrorism and the COVID-19 pandemic have affected negatively the food security situation in the region.
He was, thus, hopeful that, together the Community can work quickly to guarantee food security within the framework of the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP).
“With respect to humanitarian assistance in the region, persistent terrorist attacks and issues of climate change, particularly in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin, have caused significant internal displacements of people. The Commission should remain seized on these matters, and continue to provide assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons in the region,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo told the Commission that this generation of West Africans, indeed of Africans, is undertaking one of the noblest ventures of human history, engineering the transformation of poor societies into prosperous ones on the basis of democratic values and principles.
“European, American and Asian industrialisation took place at times of limited franchises and authoritarian institutions. Ours is being done with full universal adult suffrage, in open societies. This is the magnitude of our challenge, and the nature of our prize. We should all be proud of being frontline actors in this great drama,” the President added.
BY TIMES REPORTER