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Initiating fruitful Economic Cooperation between ECOWAS and Indonesia
Le ministre indonésien du Commerce, Enggartiasto Lukita, et Marcel de Souza

Abuja, 26 July 2017. The Indonesian Minister of Trade, Enggartiasto Lukita, is looking forward to concluding a double Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between his country and the West African region. It will include a regional agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on the one hand, and an individual agreement with each State, on the other hand.

He made the call during a meeting on Tuesday, 25 July 2017, in Abuja, Nigeria, with ECOWAS Commission President Marcel de Souza.

According to Lukita, West Africa boasts enormous potentials, particularly in economic, industrial and demographic areas, which are important assets for the establishment of a partnership between the bloc and his country.

The President of the regional organisation commended Indonesia’s initiative to engage in discussions to establish regional and individual economic partnership agreements with ECOWAS and its Member States. However, he noted that the regional agreement should take precedence over the individual agreement with Member States, and should include the Most-Favoured-Nation clause.

Beyond Indonesia, ECOWAS intends to sign an EPA with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), one of the most dynamic economic communities in the world, disclosed Mr de Souza.

He briefed his guest of procedures for signing an Agreement between a country and ECOWAS, which include in particular sending a request to the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.

Pending the request, Marcel de Souza recommended the setting up of a working group composed of focal points between the two parties to make proposals for the establishment of a dynamic, effective and win-win cooperation framework between the West African regional organisation and Indonesia.

Mr de Souza put forward the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, Laouali Chaïbou, and the Acting Director of External Relations, Jérôme Boa, as focal points of the regional organisation.

For his part, Minister Enggartiasto Lukita nominated Mrs Arlinda and Ni Made Ayu Marthini, Director General of National Export Development and Director of Bilateral Negotiations respectively, to be part of the team.

For the Commission President, both parties’ focal points are tasked with reviewing the various areas of cooperation and undertaking feasibility studies on the partnership between ECOWAS and Indonesia.

The conclusions of their studies will then be forwarded to the Council of Ministers and the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government for decision.

“A regional Economic Partnership Agreement binds all ECOWAS Member States, in my capacity as President of the Commission, I do not have the power to sign such an agreement without the endorsement of the Heads of State and Government”, de Souza said.

Aside his meeting with the Indonesian Minister of Trade, Marcel de Souza met the Secretary-General of the Union of African Shippers’ Councils (UASC), Adamou Saley Abdourahamane.

The latter came to brief the Commission President of his organisation’s operation and strategic plan for 2015-2020, and express their expectations from ECOWAS.

Mr Abdourahamane would like his institution, which includes 11 of the 15 ECOWAS Member States of ECOWAS, to establish a cooperation framework and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the West African organisation.

He also sought political support from the ECOWAS Commission President in the transport sector with other organisations operating in the area of movement of goods.

Mr de Souza reiterated the Commission’s willingness to work with UASC.

It should also be noted that Mr de Souza also held talks with Bashir Ifo, President of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).

Discussions between the two personalities centred on institutional issues.


L-R, Adamou Saley Abdourahamane, Marcel de Souza and Laouali Chaïbou
From left To the right, the president of the BIDC, Bashir Ifo, and  Marcel de Souza
The delegations of the ECOWAS  Commission and Indonesia

Group photo of the delegations of the ECOWAS Commission and the UCCA


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