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Council of ministers lauds remarkable progress by the Community
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H.E. Marcel Alain de Souza, President, ECOWAS Commission making statement, left, during the opening ceremony of 76th Ordinary session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, with him, H.E. Kadim Diop, Chairman of Council and Minister of African Integration, NEPAD and Promotion of Good Governance of the Republic of Senegal. Dakar, 13th May 2016.

The Senegalese Minister for African Integration and Good Governance, Khadim Diop, has hailed the remarkable progress this year by ECOWAS in the areas of regional integration, democracy and economic development.

In his remarks delivered on Friday, 13 May 2016 in Dakar, Senegal, at the opening of the 76th ordinary session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers which he chairs, Mr Diop expressed satisfaction at the entry into force of the Common External Tariff, adoption of the ECOWAS biometric ID card and signing of the Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union.

On the political front, Mr Diop commended the peaceful conduct of elections in five Member States, stating that the successful polls have set ECOWAS firmly on the path of sustainable peace and security.

Concerning the major challenges confronting the West African sub-region, Khadim Diop mentioned poverty, youth unemployment, the recent resurgence of some cases of the Ebola Virus Disease, as well as the imperative need to rapidly find lasting solutions to the Community Levy implementation.

He called for Community resources to be redirected towards priority integrating programmes within the region and lauded the bold protective measures already taken by the new President of the Commission to streamline and reduce the cost of running Community Institutions.

In the same vein, the new President of the Community’s executive body, Marcel de Souza descibed the austerity, cost reduction and cash control measures he has put in place with the support of the Commissioners and Heads of ECOWAS Institutions.

He expressed regret at the grim state of ECOWAS’ finances which are derived largely from raw materials and oil exports.

The situation is unlikely to push Member States to pay the Community Levy, Mr. de Souza said and the question should be asked if this is the reason for the Commission’s dangerous and precarious financial situation.

He reiterated the interest that regional integration holds which he said can be achieved only in an environment of peace and security, as well as the risks and threats which impede the economic development of the Community.

To achieve this, Marcel de Souza urged the Community to be particularly careful and to increase its dynamism at a time when ECOWAS is being constantly shaken by violence, sea piracy and terrorist attacks in several Member States, which have resulted in the loss of human lives.

The 76th ordinary session of the Council of Ministers of the regional organisation has some important items on its agenda presented both for decision and approval.

The Council is made up of the Ministers of Finance and Integration of Member States and will consider in particular, the 2016 ECOWAS Interim Report and the 2015 Final Report of the Financial Controller. It is also expected to consider the report of the 19th meeting of the Administration and Finance Committee (AFC) and review the status of the tasks assigned by its 75th session.PIC. 12

The last two items for the decision of Council concern the financial situation of the Community and the consideration of the draft agenda for the 49th ordinary session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government to be held on 4 June 2016 in the Senegalese capital.

Items slated for approval include the report of ECOWAS Ministers of Quality and the adoption of eleven ECOWAS Standards (ECOSTAND), as well as the report and final communiqué of the 17th meeting of the Assembly of Health Ministers.

Council members will be presented with a technical note on the participation of the West African Health Organisation at a high-level HIV/AIDS Summit and will consider the memorandum of the ECOWAS standard model agency for the management of natural disasters in Member States.

Items presented for information are updates on the institutional reforms, Economic Partnership Agreement between West Africa and the European Union and the status of the Regional Indicative Programme.PIC. 14

The 76th ordinary session of the Council of Ministers was also the occasion for the Vice President and seven Commissioners who assumed duty in the first quarter of 2016, to take their oath of office before the President of the Community Court of Justice, Honourable Judge Maria do Ceu Silva Monteiro.

The Commissioners are Ayassor Tchambakou from Togo, responsible for Agriculture, Environnement and Water Resources, Prof Hamidou Boly from Burkina Faso, responsible for Education, Culture, Science and Technology and Allieu Sessay from Sierra Leone, who will handle Finance.

Others are Dr Antoinette Weeks from Liberia, in charge of Infrastructure, Mamadou Traore from Mali, responsible for Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research, Halima Ahmed from Nigeria, with the Political Affairs, Peace and Security portfolio and Laouali Chaïbou from Niger handling Trade, Customs and Free Movement.


The Vice-President, Edward David Singhatey is from the Gambia.

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