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Who succeeds Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the helm of the regional organisation?
Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and ECOWAS

Monrovia, 3 June 2017. The handing over of Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, and outgoing Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), will be one of the main items on the agenda of the 51st Ordinary Session of the regional organisation due to hold on 4 June 2017, in Monrovia, Liberia.

It was on 4 June 2016, in Dakar, Senegal, at the 49th Ordinary Session of the Authority that the Liberian leader had taken the reins of ECOWAS from Senegalese President, Macky Sall, for a one-year term.

A year after her election to preside over of the affairs of the apex ECOWAS decision-making body, Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is expected to hand over the baton to one of her peers.

Aside the election of the new Chair of their Authority, the West African leaders will examine numerous issues, including Morocco’s application to join ECOWAS and Tunisia’s observer status request, as well as the Association Agreement between Mauritania and the Community.

They will also consider a series of reports, in particular the special and 2017 interim reports of the ECOWAS Commission President, Marcel de Souza.

Marcel de Souza and Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

The Authority will equally discuss the reports of the 78th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, and 38th Mediation and Security Council, as well as the report of the ad hoc Ministerial Committee on institutional reform and the end of tenure of ECOWAS statutory appointees.

The Monrovia Summit will be marked by the signing of the Dakar-Abidjan Corridor Treaty, and the laying of the first stone for regional electricity project. The project covers Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Two Declarations will be read during this meeting. First, the Post-Ebola Declaration, and second, a declaration by all political parties contesting the forthcoming Liberian general elections.


The signing of Community acts and decisions, handing over of emblem to the incoming Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, and reading of the vote of thanks by Gambian President, Adama Barrow, will be the key highlights of the Monrovia meeting.


The meeting will culminate in the reading of the final communiqué, choice of the date and venue of the 52nd Summit, statement by the incoming Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, as well as a press conference by the latter and the ECOWAS principal, Marcel de Souza.


Prior to that, the gathering will witness the opening ceremony of the 51st Summit. It will feature, among other things, the welcome address by the President of Liberia, and ECOWAS Chair, Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, followed by a statement by the President of the Commission of the regional organisation, Marcel de Souza.

The West African leaders will also listen to speeches by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representatives for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Mrs Federica Mogherini, and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahou, will also address participants.

It is worth noting that the opening address will be delivered by the Summit host, Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, first African woman Head of State, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and outgoing ECOWAS Chair.


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