Yar ‘Adua Elected ECOWAS Chair

Saturday, 20th December 2008
Abuja, Nigeria - The 35th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ended in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Friday with the election of President Alhaji Umar Musa Yar’Adua as Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government for 2009.

A Communiqué issued at the end of the Summit warned that the global financial crisis could undermine the region’s economic  recovery and precipitate a reduction in foreign direct investment, remittances from migrant workers and drop in commodity prices, the mainstay of the economies of most member states.

The Communiqué called for a regional strategy that would minimize the risks on the regional economy, while member states were urged to strengthen the management and structural reform of their economies.

In order to provide comprehensive and sustainable global solution to the crisis, the Heads of State called for improved global economic governance, while maintaining that Africa should be more involved in ongoing international initiatives to address the challenge as well as international meetings  on monetary and development issues.

The one-day Summit also approved new initiatives for ameliorating the infrastructure deficit in West Africa so that it could be used as a tool to boost regional development and integration. The initiatives call for massive investments in energy, roads, air transport, maritime transport and railways through private/public partnership.

 In this regard, the Summit participants adopted a joint ECOWAS/UEMOA action plan on regional priority projects and the creation of a Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency to be based in Priaia, Cape Verde.

They also endorsed the establishment of an ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority to be based in Accra which will facilitate increased intra-community electricity trading at affordable costs and ensure  the security of supply.

The Heads of State and Government discussed the issue of regional food security and the regional offensive to combat hunger. They urged member states to finalize the preparation of their national agriculture investment programmes.

The Summit participants also adopted a political declaration and regional plan of action to combat drug trafficking and drug consumption.  It directed the ECOWAS Commission to prepare an implementation plan and called on development partners to support the plan.

Summit participants also discussed regional peace and security, particularly the situation in Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mali and Niger. They condemned the assassination attempt on President Vieira of Guinea Bissau and expressed satisfaction with the evolution of the peace process in Cote D’Ivoire.

The Heads of State urged the ECOWAS mediator for Guinea, former President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida of Nigeria, to resume his goodwill missions to that country in order to continue its support for the consolidation of democratic institutions  and processes.

The Summit was attended by nine of the 16 ECOWAS Heads of State and Government. Liberia was represented by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai.