During the 45th ordinary summit of the authority of heads of state and government of Ecowas held in Accra, Ghana, over the weekend, leaders of one of the world’s most volatile region, hailed the contribution of member states but warned the security situation required more member state support.
Speaking to pressmen in Ghana, Isatou Njie-Saidy, the vice president of The Gambia, said: “The security situation in Mali is still volatile and even when we hoped that things have been solved, Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb and a host of other terrorist networks emerged again. There are other political problems as well affecting some countries. If you look at the political situation in Guinea Bissau, the transition has ended and they have held a very successful election. President Vaz was commended for his efforts and those of his predecessors towards ensuring peace and stability in that country. Also, the issue of the Ebola crisis in our sub-region is very serious because it has been killing at a faster rate. If you remember, more than 800 cases were reported with more than 500 dying as a result. This was reported particularly by countries that were affected and the heads of state have given it a lot of urgency and the ministers of health who also met here over the issue. The World Health Organisation and West African Health Organisation were also involved. But a lot of funds are also required like 20 million dollars which cannot be raised within a short space of time. That is the least you need for sensitisation, for getting prepared and of course addressing the issue in various countries.”
Addressing trade challenges
The leaders also said there was need for member states to harmonise better trade policies to address various challenges confronting the liberalisation of commerce in our sub-region.
John Dramani Mahama, Ecowas chairman and president of Ghana stated: “I wish to call on all member-states of Ecowas, particularly border officials, to take all the legal and necessary steps to remove all challenges or bottlenecks to trade and commercial activities within our region. Some of our business men and women complain that in addition to paying all the relevant duties and levies, they are still confronted with situations and hindrances that often make it prohibitive for them to do business within our sub-region. Many business people of West Africa have been frustrated by the request for substantial informal payments at borders, in addition to the regulatory registration requirements and high costs of transit fees demanded by our member states”]]>