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End of Year Address to Staff by The President of the Ecowas Commission, H.E. Marcel A. De Souza

le-president-de-la-commission-de-la-cedeao-marcel-de-souzaAs is customary, the end of the year offers the opportunity to take stock of activities of the year gone by and outline the prospects for the year to come.

In that respect, it is important to note that in the first quarter of 2016, our uncertain financial situation made it impossible to implement all the projects and programmes planned in the budget.

Similarly, considering our Institution’s financial situation at the time I assumed duty, particularly the risk of not being able to pay salaries beyond two months, I essentially initiated two actions, namely: (i) a request to the Heads of State and Government for assistance in the collection and deposit of the Community Levy and (ii) the institution of cost control measures.

Regarding the collection and deposit of the Community Levy, the initiative taken has borne fruit and I take the opportunity to pay glowing tribute to our Heads of State and Government who reaffirmed their confidence and support for us in acceding to our request. Significant amounts were deposited from the start of the third quarter 2016, thereby enabling us to accord priority to programmes and activities of major interest for our Institution. The activities facilitated the numerous and important decisions taken during the statutory meetings which took place at the end of the year, particularly for projects relating to peace and security, free movement of persons and goods, building a Customs Union, Community Development  Programme, energy, multilateral surveillance and single currency, the humanitarian situation, institutional reforms and revamping of our structure, enhancement of the powers of Parliament and promotion of democracy. In the area of democracy specifically, presidential elections were held amid peace and calm in Niger, Benin, Cabo Verde, The Gambia and Ghana. Nevertheless in The Gambia, the sudden volte-face by the outgoing President has put the country in a worrying political situation with an uncertain end. In that regard, I commend the important decisions taken by the Authority of Heads of State and Government to enforce strict respect for the election results.

With respect to cost control, austerity measures had been taken to curb expenditure in all areas of activities in our Institution, in particular travels (duration and size of missions), life insurance premiums, general services (telephone allowance, use of official vehicles), while seeking to maintain a good level of activities without infringing staff’s rights and duties.


Initial results of these measures are positive, although we still face countless challenges that could be addressed through everyone’s participation in all our structures. These challenges include punctuality, diligence, sense of responsibility and probity.

In 2017, special emphasis will be placed on alternative resource mobilisation from technical institutions and partners and on Community Levy collection, the repayment schedules of which are expected from some Member States. A particular effort will be made in realigning resources in conformity with the directives of the Authority of Heads of State and Government to allocate 35% of resources to operating costs and 65% to projects and programmes that impact directly on the living conditions of our hardworking people. Significant efforts will also be made jointly with the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) for innovative resource mobilisation in order to give fresh impetus to economic integration to build a common destiny and develop the 16th economy.

We will steadfastly pursue cost control measures, institutional reforms, establishment of a new organogram, and the fight against corruption in all its forms. Accordingly, a code of ethics and professional conduct will be developed and rigorously implemented to promote the positive image of our Institutions to our partners in general and service providers in particular.

Furthermore, we will undertake staff mobility alongside capacity building through the transformation of the Community Computer Centre (CCC) into a Community Training Centre. Cooperation agreements to be signed with organisations such as the IMF, World Bank, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), will enhance the technical expertise of our human resources.

I am counting on the entire staff to actualise the vision of an “ECOWAS of People” and steer projects and programmes to fight against poverty and improve the living conditions of our people.


I wish you a very happy new year 2017.


May we enjoy peace, good health and happiness in our homes, families and above all, in the region.


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