The Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Toga Gayewea McIntosh, has described the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as  the most dynamic Regional Economic Community in Africa, despite the numerous challenges.

Dr McIntosh said the sub-region is also a good reference point on economic growth, despite the political, security, health and economic challenges.

He was addressing participants at the opening of the 35th meeting of the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ) Convergence Council in Accra, last Friday.

Dr McIntosh noted that in 2015, ECOWAS had helped conduct credible and successful Presidential and Legislative Elections in Nigeria, Togo, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso as well as helped ensure political stability in Mali and Guinea Bissau.

He said in 2015, considerable progress was made in the establishment of a Customs Union while the ECOWAS Common External Tariff regime effectively commenced on January 1, 2015 in eight Member States, with implementation in the remaining countries expected to commence this year.

In addition, he said, renewed efforts were also being made to ensure the implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS).

Dr McIntosh disclosed that the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations between the European Union and West Africa (ECOWAS + Mauritania), which had protracted for a long period, had now been signed by thirteen out of fifteen Member States.

He announced that with respect to the free movement of persons in the sub-region, the ECOWAS Biometric Identity Card, which aimed to facilitate mobility and promote security in the region, would become operational this month.

He said notable achievements had also been chalked in the development of sustainable programmes, including energy and road transport in the ECOWAS region, while efforts were being made, within the framework of the financial market integration and private sector promotion, to establish a regional payment and settlement system and the ECOWAS Investment Guarantee Mechanism.

Despite these achievements, Dr McIntosh said, a lot more work remained amidst ever-growing challenges.

He noted with satisfaction the role played by the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) in enhancing capacity building in financial and economic management in the West African sub-region, adding that the request by the WAMZ Convergence Council for the ECOWAS Commission to adopt WAIFEM as a training institute would, therefore, be given due attention as soon as possible.

Dr McIntosh, however, expressed concern about the ineffective implementation of Community Protocols and Conventions, especially the Protocol on the Free Movement of Goods and Persons and the Rights of Residence and Establishment; non-compliance by some Member States with the provisions of the Community Levy Scheme; negative impacts of exogenous shocks on national economies; and the fragile political and security situation existing in some Member States, which were inimical to growth and sustainable development.


Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)

Created: 18 January 2016
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