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Marcel Alain de Souza is now at the helm of the ECOWAS Commission
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The outgoing ECOWAS Commission President Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo handed over to his successor Marcel Alain de Souza on Friday 8 April 2016 in Abuja, Nigeria at a ceremony graced by the representative of Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Nigeria, staff members and heads of Community institutions.

In his farewell address, Mr. Ouédraogo highlighted the significant progress made by his team since assuming office in 2012.

High on the list of the significant achievements were the adoption of a biometric identity card, ECOWAS biometric laissez-passer for staff of the institutions and the launch of the Community institutional reform.

He also alluded to the launch of the Abidjan-Lagos Highway project and railway loop, the construction of Joint Border Posts in Sémé and Noepé , the achievement of the customs union through the implementation of a Common External Tariff and the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.

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The Outgoing President equally made mention of the finalisation of EPA negotiations between West Africa and the European Union, progress towards the creation of the single currency by 2020 and the resolution of crises in Mali, Guinea Bissau and Burkina Faso.

The conduct of peaceful and transparent elections in West Africa as well as the fight against terrorism and organised crime, through the new counter-terrorism strategy and the joint maritime security policy with Central Africa were also among the achievements of the outgoing team, he noted.

This notwithstanding, he recalled the major challenges to be addressed, especially the consolidation of peace and security, the fight against terrorism and transtional organised crime, including poverty eradication in the region.

Mr. Ouédraogo was convinced that these challenges would be addressed and the significant progress made by his team consolidated and increased by his successor.

Taking the floor, the new ECOWAS Commission President lauded the achievements of his predecessor which he described as «overwhelmingly positive» and commended the remarkable dexterity with which he steered the regional organisation.

Marcel Alain de Souza pledged to pursue the work started by his predecessor, in particular the institutional reforms, in order to reduce cost and attain the integration goals, through the free movement of goods, persons, capital and services, and improve not only governance and management structures, but also ECOWAS corporate image

Mr. de Souza stated that the other major challenge to be addressed would be to reconcile the free movement of goods and persons with the security imperative.

«To assess this imperative, within the first months of my assumption of office, I will adopt the initiative «Taxi CEDEAO/ECOWAS Taxi», expected to lead to the development of the Manual of Procedure on the free movement of goods and persons within ECOWAS», Mr. de Souza intimated.

He also took this opportunity to thank ECOWAS Heads of State for approving his appointment to this position, in particular the President of Benin for putting forward his name, and welcomed their commitment to support him in the institutional reforms needed to revamp the organisation and address all Community challenges.Pic 13

For his part, the representative of Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Malaja Tula Isa, expressed confidence that under the leadership of Mr. de Souza, ECOWAS will be most representative and stronger to restore hope to current and future generations.

A citizen of Benin, the new ECOWAS Commission President holds a Master’s in Economics from the University of Dakar and a Specialised Master’s Degree in Management and Banking from the West African Training Centre for Banking Studies (COFEB).

Marcel de Souza held several positions at the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) at its Headquarters in Dakar, Senegal and its Head Office in Cotonou, Benin.

He was Member of Parliament of the Benin National Assembly, Minister for Development, Economic Analysis and Forecast, Head of Department of Economic and Financial Affairs, Special Adviser to the President of the Republic of Benin on Monetary and Banking Affairs and candidate in the March 2016 presidential election.

It is recalled that the 48th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held on Thursday 17 December 2015 in Abuja, Nigeria allocated the post of ECOWAS Commission President to Bénin for the period covering March 2016 to February 2018.

Marcel de Souza was appointed by Benin to occupy this position, thus taking over from    Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo.

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