The Heads of State and Governments of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has nominated President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to Chair the ECOWAS Authority for another year.
At the 59th Ordinary Session held on June 19 2021, in Accra, Ghana, the Heads of State and Governments expressed their appreciation to the Ghanaian President for his stellar leadership in steering the Community’s affairs.
In a Communique issued on June 19, 2021, the Heads of State and Governments reaffirmed their commitment to deepening the integration process in the West Africa region.
On the COVID-19 situation in the region, the Authority encouraged the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) to intensify its efforts regarding the mobilisation of partnership to produce Anti- COVID Vaccines in the region.
Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, which currently have the infrastructure, took the lead to produce vaccines locally for COVID-19 and future health crises.
The Authority called on the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support quality health care infrastructure and develop pharmaceutical industries in ECOWAS countries, including the manufacture of vaccines.
The Authority, according to the Communique, charged the President of the Commission to work with the Member States and WAHO on the “modalities to accelerate the reopening of land borders safely during the pandemic in line with the agreed ECOWAS Harmonised Guidelines for Free Movement of People and Goods during pandemics.”
On peace and security in the region, the Authority reaffirmed its commitment to promoting peace, security, and stability as prerequisites for economic integration and development.
The Authority, the Communique said, had taken notice of the political situation in the region and reiterated its concerns over the crisis in Mali in the context of security challenges related to terrorist attacks and the Covid-19 Pandemic with its dire socio-economic impacts.
The Authority noted with gladness the positive development in Mali and decided to remain seized of the political situation in that country.
The statement further said the Authority had instituted Monitoring Mechanism in Mali to ensure that the electoral timetable unveiled on April 15 2021, is strictly adhered to.
It (the Authority) instructed the President of the Commission to ensure effective functioning of the mechanism and implement the measures contained therein.
According to the Communique, the Authority expressed concern over the destabilising effect of the operations of mercenary groups from Libya and called for a concerted international action aimed at urgently resolving the issue involving the disarmament of the mercenary groups.
The Authority expressed the need to enhance synergies among the various security, defence, and intelligence agencies across the ECOWAS region to facilitate swift and appropriate responses to existing and emerging threats.
“The Authority commends the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) for launching a facility to support African countries, including member countries of the ECOWAS region, to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Communique stated.
The Authority also commended AfDB for its support to the G5 Sahel countries to strengthen national health systems.
On maritime safety and security, the Authority reiterated its call on the Member States to fully implement the measures adopted at national, regional, and continental levels to ensure maritime security and safety in the Gulf of Guinea.
It (the Authority) directed the President of the Commission to take appropriate measures, in consultation with the Member States, to operationalise the ECOWAS Maritime Security Architecture fully, the Communique said.
On Border issues, the Authority congratulated the Republics of Guinea and Sierra Leone for reopening their land borders.
It further commended the spirit of solidarity and dialogue that led, at the Summit, to the signing of the Military and Technical Cooperation Agreement between the Republics of Senegal and Guinea, paving the way for the imminent reopening of their borders, the statement said.
The Authority encouraged the Republics of Guinea and Guinea Bissau to work to reopen their borders and promised that ECOWAS would stand by them and accompany them in this endeavour.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD