ECOWAS declared most dynamic regional economic community in Africa
At the 35th meeting of the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ) Convergence Council in Accra, McIntosh said the sub-region is a good reference point on economic growth, despite political, security, health and economic challenges.
Among the successes of the region, according to McIntosh, are the credible 2015 presidential and legislative Elections in Nigeria, Togo, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso as well as increased political stability in Mali and Guinea Bissau.
The ECOWAS Common External Tariff regime effectively began Jan. 1, 2015, in eight member states, with implementation in the other countries set to start this year. Considerable progress was made in 2015 toward the establishment of a Customs Union as well.
Implementing the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) has also been a focus for ECOWAS. Toward this, McIntosh revealed that the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations between the European Union and West Africa (ECOWAS + Mauritania) had finally been signed by 13 out of 15 member states.
The ECOWAS Biometric Identity Card will make moving around the region both easier and safer, and is set to become operational this month.
Sustainable programs such as energy and road transport in the ECOWAS region also experienced progress. The establishment of a regional payment and settlement system and the ECOWAS Investment Guarantee Mechanism is also currently a priority for the region.
In closing, McIntosh emphasized 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.
The request by the WAMZ Convergence Council for the ECOWAS Commission to adopt WAIFEM as a training institute will, in response, be given due attention as soon as possible.