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ECOWAS and China Development Bank Explore Areas of Greater Cooperation
 (Abuja, 31st August 2016)


ECOWAS and China Development Bank (CDB) have set a machinery in motion to explore areas of greater cooperation with a view to realizing set integration targets across specific sectors.


The sectors over which broader relations are being sought include transport infrastructure, maritime, energy, agriculture and health.


Conferring with a delegation from the CDB at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja on the 31st of August 2016, the ECOWAS Commission, President Marcel de Souza drew attention to the fact that West Africa currently enjoys just about 12 percent of inter community trade whereas road, rail, air and sea infrastructure are needed to fast track economic cooperation in the region.


Specifically, the president cited the 1,028 kilometers Lagos-Abidjan road project linking five of the region’s 12 coastal countries and solicited for the help of CBD in the $15 million feasibility studies being carried out while the total cost of the project is put at $8 billion. The second phase of the project tagged Abidjan-Dakar covers 3,260 kilometers with a feasibility studies bill of about $25 million and a total cost of around $25 billion.


From beneficial sea to air links, the president also urged the Chinese partners to find means of supporting the region’s energy drive while stressing the urgency to encourage the massive production of Rice, a staple food in the region instead of the current heavy dependence on importation of the product. In the same vein, the President sought support for the plan to establish six hospitals of reference to help in the continuous arrest, (post Ebola and Zika viruses) of other diseases such as Lassa fever, and cholera which ravage the area.


The president also lauded CBD for taking into account the region’s ‘action needs’ which represent the kind of steps that should be taken to get closer to the population of the region. He cited the cooperation with the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) for the support of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) as well as infrastructure and appealed for the loans to be granted in this regard to be given on soft conditions.

Gift presentation photo PIC 4

President Souza who was flanked by Vice president Edward Singhatey and senior officials of the Commission, expressed appreciation for the $5 million grant given to the ECOWAS Standby Force by the government of China and the $450,000 granted to ECOWAS by the CBD for Ebola containment, among others.


Responding, the leader of the CBD delegation, Zeng Liqing expressed the hope that the meeting would lead to greater collaboration between the two parties.


She disclosed that through the Bank’s efforts, over $46 billion has been provided to 43 African countries for infrastructural development, mining, energy among other sectors.  She also maintained during the course of exchanges, that the Bank’s special loans for SMEs was being made use of by 47 African countries, ECOWAS member states inclusive.


According to the CBD chief, after the China-Africa Round which held in Johannesburg in December 2015, efforts have now reached top gear to realize the broader aspects of the economic cooperation between ECOWAS and CBD.


The CDB is the Chinese development financial institution which specializes in the provision of medium to long term financial facilities for agriculture, power, energy, and infrastructure projects as well as SMEs.


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