African News Dimension
ECOWAS ministers, partners finalise talks on reforms
28 August 2006
By AND West Africa
ECOWAS trade, foreign affairs and cooperation ministers today began the final lap of talks toward restructuring the body into a Commission.
ECOWAS trade, foreign affairs and cooperation ministers today began the final lap of talks toward restructuring the body into a Commission. Also to participate in the meeting holding in Abuja are the ECOWAS development partners among them IMF, European Union (EU) and several other leading nations.
Key aspects of the reforms include the transformation of the 31-year-old sub-regional body to a Commission to be headed by a president, a vice and seven commissioners. ECOWAS Executive Secretary Mohammed Ibn Chambas in his speech at the opening session of the meeting said that the reforms would promote the integration process and open the West African space to attract investments.
He said that the ministers were expected to review the West Africa/EU negotiation of regional Economic Partnership Agreement. ECOWAS - 2 Chambas said that the establishment of the ECOWAS Commission would enhance the supra-nationality of the Community as the current defective structure was working against the quick implementation of major programmes and projects.
He said that illegal migration by the youth would also be considered with a view to work out an ECOWAS policy that would promote the beneficial aspects of migration and eliminate the factors that provoke such exodus. The Resident Representative of the IMF, Mr Idrissa Thiam, in his remarks, pledged the fund’s support to ECOWAS efforts toward attracting more international attention.
The ECOWAS reforms expected to fully take-off in January 2007, were endorsed by heads of governments of member states in January 2006 at their Summit in Niamey, Niger. NAN