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ECOWAS Urges Economic Reforms In Member States
MONROVIA, December 20 (LINA) – The Authority of Heads of State and government of ECOWAS has urged Member States to initiate structural reforms and take economic and financial stimulus measures to be less vulnerable and improve their economies’ resilience to exogenous shocks.
The ECOWAS leaders welcomed the progress made in some Member States, nearing double-digit growth rates, but expressed concern about the region’s poor economic performance.
They noted that this was due mainly to the combined negative effects of the fall in oil prices since 2014 on the fiscal balance of oil-exporting countries, particularly Nigeria, deteriorating prices of other commodities, especially mineral ores as well as the fragile political situation in some countries.
According to a dispatch from Abuja, Nigeria, sub-regional Heads of State and Government took the decision during the 50th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority held at a local hotel in Abuja on Saturday, December 17.
Leaders attending the session were President John MAHAMA of Ghana; Alpha CONDE of Guinea; José Mário Vaz of Guinea Bissau; Ellen Johnson SIRLEAF of Liberia; Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA of Mali; Mahamadou ISSOUFOU of Niger; Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria; Macky SALL of Senegal; Ernest Bai KOROMA of Sierra Leone and Faure GNASSINGBE of Togo.
Others were Aurelien A. AGBENONCI, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Benin; Alpha BARRY, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Burkinabe Abroad of Burkina Faso; Cesar MONTEIRO, Ambassador of Cape Verde in Senegal; and Bala GARBA-JAHUMPA, Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure of The Gambia.
Institutional representatives were the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas; and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Guinea Bissau and Head of UNIOGBIS, Mr. Brahim Modibo Touré, as well as Representatives of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) as observers.
On regional integration and development, the ECOWAS leaders expressed concern about the continuing obstacles to free movement of persons and goods in the Community and invited Member States to take measures to strictly implement the provisions of the Protocol on free movement of persons and goods, right to residence and establishment.
They welcome the setting up of the Presidential Task Force on free movement, and urged the Task Force to recommend as soon as possible innovative and effective measures to curb the scourge.
They also directed the ECOWAS Commission to intensify awareness creation for the Community citizenry and regularly organize joint sensitization meeting between border security service and the local populations.
On infrastructure development, the ECOWAS leaders emphasized the need to develop road, railway, air and maritime infrastructure necessary for boosting intra-Community trade, to enhance development prospects and assist in the fight against poverty.
On institutional matters, the ECOWAS Authority took note of ongoing institutional reforms in the Commission and other ECOWAS institutions, but stressed the need for the reforms to take account of the economic and financial situation within the region thus paving the way for the establishment of cost effective, efficient and sustainable structures for the Community.
The 51st Ordinary Session of ECOWAS is slated to convene in May 2017 in the Liberian capital Monrovia.