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West Africa’s regional priority infrastructure projects: the focus of a seminar organised by ECOWAS and its partners in Dakar, Senegal
Photo de famille avec Mr. Pathé GUEYE commissaire de la CEDEAO, Joãozinho MENDES commissaire de l’UEMOA, Paul Koffi Koffi

Dakar, the Senegalese capital, hosted a regional seminar organised by the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) on 20 and 21 February 2020 on the theme “Regional priority infrastructure projects ready for financing in West Africa”. The organisation of the seminar follows the recommendations of previous meetings and consultations between the ECOWAS Commission and some of its partners, including the European Union, the African Development Bank and Japan through its International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The previous meetings include the meeting of the Strategic Orientation Committee (SOC) between the Presidents of the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions, expanded to include the National Authorising Officers of the EDF and the EU; the meeting on regional transport and energy infrastructure investment priorities held in Accra in April 2019, the ECOWAS-UEMOA Joint Technical Secretariat, and the ECOWAS-UEMOA-EU Technical Working Group.

Following the recommendations of the various meetings, the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions agreed to develop an “updated list of regional priority infrastructure projects ready for financing” which will serve as a basis for discussions and negotiations with partners interested in supporting the implementation of the West African integration agenda.

It is within this framework that the two-day meeting was opened in Dakar by Mr Mayacine Camara, the Senegalese Secretary of State in charge of the Railway Network. The meeting was attended by Mr Pathé Gueye, ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Mr Joãozinho Mendes, UEMOA Commissioner for Regional Market and Cooperation, and Mr Paul Koffi Koffi, UEMOA Commissioner for Regional Planning, Infrastructure and Transport. In addition to ECOWAS and UEMOA experts, the meeting was open to transport, energy, water resources and the digital economy experts from the 15 member states.

The Dakar seminar enabled the experts to finalise some tasks within the framework of this process. The tasks include sharing of information on the strategic documents of the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions in the areas of Transport, Energy, Digital Economy and Water Resources; and finalization of a harmonised methodology for identifying priority projects through the provision of a set of relevant criteria.

The meeting of the experts also made it possible to draw up, based on the selected criteria, a list of regional priority projects in the areas of Transport, Energy, Telecommunications and Water Resources; to draw up a list of national priority initiatives/projects of a regional nature; and to draw up a summary sheet presenting the projects.

The Dakar meeting also agreed on a roadmap for the next steps. These include the setting up of a Committee to follow up the conclusions of the seminar. The Committee is composed of the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions, EBID and WADB. According to the recommendations, the Committee may be expanded to include other members when required, in order to facilitate the financing of programmes. As regards the frequency of meetings, the seminar agreed that the Committee will meet at least twice a year and when the need arises.

In their closing remarks, the Co-Chairpersons thanked the participants for their valuable contributions and expressed their satisfaction with the results achieved by the meeting. Furthermore, they expressed their gratitude to the Authorities and the people of Senegal for the warm and fraternal welcome. The Commissioners thanked the European Union for its support in the organisation of the Seminar.

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