Jean-Claude Kassi Brou calls for collective efforts to build an ECOWAS of the Peoples18 May, 2019
Abuja, 17th of May 2018. The president of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Jean-Claude Kassi Brou has called for the collective efforts of all ECOWAS institutions and Member States of the organisation in order to build the desired ECOWAS of the Peoples.
President Brou made the call while giving his mid-2019 report on the state and the implementation of the Community Work Programme to Members of the ECOWAS Parliament, on the 17th of May 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The President told the Assembly of regional legislators that despite a relatively difficult situation, the region stands in the hope for a better future following the resilience shown by the economies of the region with growth rate remaining at 3 percent just as several socio-economic programmes are being implemented in all countries to ensure that the recorded growth impacts on the population.
The 44-point presentation of President Brou centred on global and regional environment, the African economic outlook, the economic performance of ECOWAS Member States, Political affairs, peace and regional security, the state of trade integration and free movement in ECOWAS, evolution of ECOWAS trade, the state of implementation of the customs union and of the free movement of persons and rights of establishment as well as the trade relations between the Community and its partners.
Greater light was also shed on the direction of economic and social integration as well as sectorial development covering industry, private sector promotion, agriculture, environment, transport, energy and mining, telecommunications and information technology. Germane references were also made to human integration involving social affairs, education, science and culture while highlighting the salient issues revolving around the institutional reforms embarked upon by the Commission, the Single currency programme, the broader range of institutional issues and resource mobilization, international cooperation as well as activities of other institutions of the community.
Addressing the august body further, president Brou stated that major efforts are being made in political governance even though the region is facing the big security challenge occasioned by terrorist attacks and inter-community conflicts just as he maintained that the region must also improve its performance in the area of free movement of goods and people.
Noting the increased insecurity in the region exemplified by terrorist attacks, inter-community conflicts (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, northern Nigeria) as well as pressure on coastal countries leading to the deployment of peacekeeping and security force to some states, the President stressed the need to “strengthen strategies to combat insecurity as well as the solidarity between countries in order to pool resources for the prevention and fight against insecurity, the necessary cooperation and synergy between all countries”. A combination of these concerted works, according to him, represents the “collective effort (that) is necessary to build the ECOWAS of Peoples”.
On the ECOWAS National biometric identity card, he disclosed that four countries (Benin, Ghana, Guinea Bissau and Senegal) have issued the document. He confirmed that 14 (out of 15) ECOWAS Member States have signed the regional Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) while noting that the agreement is yet to come into force because not all of the countries of the regional bloc have assented to it.
Regarding the situation of transhumance and pastoralism, he highlighted the measures taken by States in accordance with the recommendations of the 2018 4th High Level Meeting for Trans-boundary Transhumance of ECOWAS Ministers responsible for Livestock, to include delimitation and marking of passage corridors in some countries (example 412 kilometre for example in Benin), development of pasture areas, establishment of border veterinary control posts as well as cross-border consultation frameworks (Mali-Mauritania-Senegal, Niger-Nigeria).
The development of regional infrastructure also got a huge mention in the President’s presentation citing therein, the programme of the Praia-Dakar-Abidjan Corridor, the finalization of Cape Verde’s instrument of accession while there is corresponding work to promote air transport projects for integration purposes together with the adoption of a memorandum banning bilateral agreements between Member States on air transport services.
President Brou also took time to field multiple questions from the regional parliamentarians bordering on the implementation of the single currency project, telecoms, the politics within ECOWAS Member States vis-a-vis the proactiveness of the ECOWAS Commission, terrorism, the idea of a common intellectual market, gender mainstreaming, the need for more mobility, the importance of a regional airline, the protection of workers of the EOWAS Institutions, permanent common defence force, the consideration of an economic infrastructure fund, greater traction for the Sustainable Development Goals and the activation of the Joint border posts that have been commissioned, among others.