Press Releases


Achievements of ECOWAS overshadowed by political developments in the region : President Touray inaugurates weekly media briefing

29 Feb, 2024

ECOWAS is taking steps to address the impediments to the unhindered intra-community movement of persons, goods and services to improve the implementation of its flagship protocol and facilitate the realisation of the economic union of the 15-member community, the President of the Commission, H.E. Dr Omar Alieu Touray has said.


In an address to mark the launch of a new media engagement for the Commission on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, the President said that these include the introduction of two travel documents- the ECOWAS passport and a biometric identity card for intra-community travel for those without their national passports which has been deployed in six Member States. This is in addition to the phased construction of joint border posts to facilitate the processing of people at border posts with the support of the European Union.


He also said that ‘substantial progress has been made’ towards the realisation of the fundamental objective of the Community which is the promotion of the region’s socio- economic development through integration and cooperation in different spheres such as trade, free movement, agriculture, industrialization, energy, science, education and technology towards the creation of an economic union.


In the speech which focused on 11 core areas of the community’s intervention, Dr Touray said that these interventions were inspired by the provision of Article 3 of the Community’s Revised Treaty under which the Member States committed to among other things, maintain and enhance economic stability, foster relations among the Member States and through these, contribute to the progress and development of the African continent.


In order to create a single market of the region, the President explained that the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme introduced in 1979 has made the trade in unprocessed goods and traditional handicrafts free of any restrictions, tariff, quotas and any encumbrances. This, he added, has been complemented by a Common External Tariff (CET) to promote smoother trade flows.


Moreover, he said the Community is building and interconnecting regional infrastructure and policies for its physical integration such as railways, highways and airways namely the Abidjan-Lagos corridor road project which is the busiest economic corridor in the region and which is being extended to connect Abidjan and Praia via The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.


On energy, Dr Touray said major projects are being unfolded while a regional energy market has been developed under the aegis of the West African Power Pool which coordinates the sale and purchase of electricity. He further added that electricity projects have been developed some of which link Benin, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo.


The President characterized the promotion of regional peace and security as a major part of the success story of ECOWAS starting with the ECOMOG Peace keeping interventions in Liberia and Sierra Leone, after which the region transformed its peace and security architecture, enabling it to become an exemplar in the Continent. He said that the concomitant legal texts have enabled ECOWAS to have the authority to impose sanctions on Member States that violate its laws.


“We continue to maintain peace support missions in Member States where they are required. We have stabilization forces in the Gambia and Guinea Bissau while another mission is at the preparatory stage for Sierra Leone. These preventive deployment of regional stabilization forces are vital for the security and welfare of citizens and community market. In the same vein, ECOWAS is also spending considerable resources on fighting terrorism in the region while a major intervention is ongoing on maritime security,’ he added.


He also said that progress has been made in addressing the needs of the vulnerable populations through the establishment of a regional stabilization fund to address fragility in the Member States under which Livelihood support projects are implemented under the fund, with some completed projects already inaugurated in the Gambia and Guinea Bissau.


In addition, Dr Touray said the Commission has provided support to Member States to respond to food crises since 2016 when ECOWAS established a Regional Food Security Reserve that Member States in difficult food and nutrition situations can draw on.


“It is fully operational with 17 interventions between 2016 and 2023 in 6 Member States of the sub-region: Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria. Its current intervention capacity is close to 60,000 tonnes of grains (maize, millet, sorghum, and rice) pre-stocked to facilitate access to the various Member States.


Unfortunately, the President noted, “These laudable strides in the region’s relentless march towards an economic union have been overshadowed by contemporary political developments. “


Consequently, he said that the initiative launched today where the media will be briefed weekly on various activities of the Community is intended to address the gap in the dissemination of information on the numerous achievements of the region in the diverse areas in which it has invested its energy and resources, sometimes working with partners.


He thanked the media for its support and said the management was available to respond promptly to media inquiries.


The weekly media briefing will be addressed by management of the ECOWAS Commission and its institutions.


Member States