PRESIDENT OUEDRAOGO INVITES CITIZENS TO JOIN THE MOBILISATION FOR GREATER SUCCESS OF ECOWAS

Drawing strength from the remarkable achievements recorded within the last four decades, the President of the ECOWAS Commission Kadre Desire Ouedraogo has invited citizens of West Africa to join in the on-going mobilization for the greater success of ECOWAS.

President Ouedraogo who spoke at a special press briefing, at the end of the 40th anniversary celebration of the regional organization on the 17th of December 2015 also paid tributes to the founding fathers of ECOWAS maintaining that their vision has led to a more integrated, economically viable and politically stable West Africa.

The president who was flanked by the Vice president of the Commission Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, the Director-General of the Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundry (GIABIA) Mr. Adamu Coulibaly and his counterpart from the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), Dr Xavier Crespin noted that in the coming years, everyone involved in the ECOWAS project should brace up to accelerated integration in West Africa as ECOWAS is now seen as one of the pillars of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) on the continent.

Among the concerns raised by the journalists in attendance bordered on some issues emanating from the final communique read out by President Ouedraogo at the end of the 48th ordinary session of the ECOWAS Summit of Heads of Heads and Government. They included the difference made by the reform of ECOWAS institutions on the lives of citizens of West Africa, content of the final declaration of the Heads of States, the advisory on dress code by the Authority relative to identification and how to get the ECOWAS Parliament more functional in terms of enforcement of its decisions.

President Oudraogo clarified that the dress code advisory has to be understood within the context of facilitating proper identification in order to advance effectiveness of security personnel in the war against insurgents and terrorists.

On the ECOWAS Parliament, President Ouedraogo disclosed that it is the prerogative of the heads and government to take the decision on the enhancement of the powers of the Parliament. He stressed that there has however arisen a need for a revision of its statutory provisions, so that necessary supplementation can be made, leading to a smooth operationalization of the protocol on enhancement of the powers of the Parliament.

The President thereafter went ahead to cite the issuance of the ECOWAS biometric identity card, harmonization of macroeconomic policies, the implementation of the Common External Tariff (CET), multilateral surveillance, trade liberalisation, the good work done on the formation of a Customs union, favourable industrial policy, developments in mines, agriculture, environment, infrastructure-transport, telecommunications and energy, the march towards the creation of a single currency by 2020, as well as the boosted capacity for organising an efficient regional response against challenges such as the Ebola Virus Disease and terrorism as some of the strides that ECOWAS has made within the last couple of years.

The heads of institutions (WAHO and GIABA) also took turns to reel out the positive developments in their offices through the programmes and projects in the sectors under their watch.

Mr. Coulibaly spoke about the coordination of financial regulatory policies in Member States leading to significant arrest of violators of anti-money laundry regulations, among others.

On his part Dr. Xavier Crespin disclosed that the health information systems embodying the regional health policy is currently being strengthened to guarantee good health to citizens of West Africa in consonance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

According to him, the idea of how to better integrate indigenous medicine into the national health delivery systems is currently being looked at. In addition to this, is the equally important matter of how to get vaccines that are effective against most diseases prevalent in the region and the building of corresponding institutional capacity.

The Press Conference was the climax of series of activities lined up for a special summit holding concomitantly with the historic celebration of 40 years of existence of ECOWAS.

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