ECOWAS officials convene for 48th meeting
The meeting, which took place in Abuja, Nigeria, was headed by Macky Sall, president of Senegal and ECOWAS chair.
The meeting was a chance for heads of ECOWAS nations to discuss peace and security issues, including the new cross-border threats to the ECOWAS region. Further, officials reaffirmed their commitments to reaching sustainable development goals outlined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
ECOWAS officials reiterated the importance of initiatives to establish an African common market; increase the volume of intra-community trade; and increase attention to sectors, such as agriculture, infrastructure, energy and human capital.
Also discussed was the importance of employment, education, health and social protection as the member countries considered development strategies and the need to promote public and private investments in all sectors.
Member nations were encouraged to concentrate on food and nutritional security as well as sustainable natural resource management; the passage of the Paris Agreement on Climate and the ability of member states to address climate change challenges was also discussed.
ECOWAS officials said heads of government across Africa need to come up with more proactive ways to respond to terrorism, piracy and other forms of organized crime; discussion focused on Islamic militant group Boko Haram’s recurrent terrorist acts in the Lake Chad Basin countries in West Africa.
Burkina Faso's government was lauded for its peaceful election and transition process. The need for communication about ways to consolidate peace and democracy in Guinea Bissau was also discussed; ECOWAS officials urged Guinea Bissau's officials to expedite action on the review of the country’s constitution.
Awards were given to Yakubu Gowon, former Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the late-Gnassingbe Eyadéma, former president of the Togolese Republic, for their vision; Gowon and Eyadéma founded ECOWAS.
Also honored were Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the sultan of Sokoto, and Koffi Gbondjidé Gervais Djondo for contributions to the preservation of cultural heritage and the promotion of the private sector in West Africa.
Mathieu Kerekou, the late former president of the Republic of Benin, was also recognized for his contribution to his country’s development and for being one of ECOWAS' founding fathers.