By Bekai Njie

The 61st Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was held on 3 July 2022 in Accra, Republic of Ghana, in which the Authority’s commitment to maritime safety was renewed in a communiqué.

The meeting, held under the Chairmanship of H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, and Chair of the Authority, commends Member States for the improvement of the situation and enhanced coordination which consolidates the safety and security improvement observed in the ECOWAS maritime domain.

It welcomes the sustained efforts from the Commission towards the full operationalisation of the entire ECOWAS Maritime Security Architecture.

“The Authority invites all ECOWAS Member States to ratify the Lomé Charter on Maritime Security and Safety and Development in Africa.

On the humanitarian situation, the Authority reiterates its concern over the continuing deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the region resulting from terrorist attacks, food crisis, armed banditry, farmer/herders clashes and natural disasters.

“In that regard, the Authority directs the Commission to reinforce its supports to the vulnerable populations in its programme.”

On economic performance, the Authority welcomes the economic resilience within the Community with the expected growth of real GDP by 4.8% in 2022 against 4.2% a year earlier in West Africa. It took note of the state of macroeconomic convergence in 2021 and the outlook for the current year, while expressing concerns about the negative impact of the Russo-Ukrainian crisis on the economies of the region, in particular on the cost of living.

“In this regard, the Authority urges Member States to intensify the mobilisation of financial resources to support efforts for the structural transformation of national economies, job creation and reduction of external dependence.”

“With a view to promoting macroeconomic convergence within ECOWAS, Authoritym instructs the Commission to strengthen the implementation of the mechanism for the multilateral surveillance of the economic and financial policies of Member States, in collaboration with WAMA, the WAEMU and WAMI.”

On food crisis, mitigation measures and building food systems resilience in West Africa, the Authority took note of the mitigation measures and the strengthening of the resilience of food systems in West Africa in the context of the current food crisis; it also adopts the ECOWAS Regional Climate Strategy and the ECOWAS Climate Finance Access and Mobilisation Strategy; and the regulations on the Regional Mechanism for the Prevention and Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses as well as the five regional animal health strategies.

Regarding the promotion of the Private sector, the Authority took note of the adoption by the Council of Ministers of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Charter 2021-2030 as well as the ECOWAS strategy to promote the competitiveness of MSME at national and regional levels among a host of others.

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