The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has pledged to continue to sustain democracy and democratic tenets among member-countries via the conduct of free, fair and acceptable elections.
The Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, made the pledge at the opening of the 59th ordinary summit of the authority of Heads of State and government of the organisation, held in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday.
A correspondent of the ROYAL NEWS monitoring the summit reports that Akufo-Addo also used the opportunity to thank all African countries for supporting the candidacy and election of Ghana into the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member.
He also appreciated the support he had received so far from his colleagues, Presidents of countries within the West African region, and called for more collaboration, in order to move the sub-region forward.
He commended the efforts of African leaders towards sustaining democratic tenets, as he congratulated the Presidents of Niger and Benin Republics, for their recent successes at the polls.
He said: “Let me congratulate our brothers and colleagues, Mohammed Bazoum and Patrice Talon, who have been elected as Presidents of the Republics of Niger and Benin, since our last summit.
”I offer them my and the community’s best wishes for their success during their terms of office.
“I also commend the Republics of Cote D’Ivoire and Cape Verde for the conduct and outcomes of their latest legislative elections. Our region continues to strengthen its democratic credentials through the holding of successful elections.”
While thanking African leaders for supporting the election of Ghana as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, he assured the continent of a worthy representation.
“On behalf of the government and people of Ghana, I thank all ECOWAS and AU member States for the support of Ghana’s recent successful candidate for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations’ Security Council for the years 2022 and 2023.
“Ghana received the highest number of votes on the day, with 185 out of 190 votes and it would not have been possible without your active support.
”I assure you that Ghana will make sure that Africa’s voice is heard loud and clear in the deliberations of the Security Council, both for matters affecting our region, the African continent and on global issues and we will consult properly to define Africa’s interest,” he said.
While noting with delight the planned UN reforms, Akufo-Addo stressed the need for balancing the membership of the UN Security Council in order to have African representatives on the council as permanent members.
“Africa’s common position on UN reforms, based on the Ezulwini consensus, is one matter we will work hard to add to the global agenda, to solicit the backing of countries around the world for this long needed reform.
“We believe it is time to correct the long standing injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represents for the nations of Africa,” he said.
He also lamented the continuous threats of terrorism, violent extremism and COVID-19, among others, to the development of Africa.
In his remarks, the Representative of the UN Secretary General’s office in West Africa and the Sahel, Annadif Saleh, pledged to support the effort of ECOWAS to restore political stability in Mali.
He also welcomed what he called positive developments in Cote D’Ivoire and Cape Verde.
Nigeria’s Akinwumi Adesina thanked President Muhammadu Buahri and other African leaders for the overwhelming support they gave, leading to his re-election as the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
He said the bank was investing massively in Africa, with over 16 billion dollars spent so far, leading to meaningful development on the continent.
“The African Development Bank is investing massively in West Africa. We are delighted with the excellent relationship and partnership with the ECOWAS Commission.
“The total volume of the spending portfolio of the bank in West Africa currently stands at $16 billion, the second largest for the bank anywhere in the continent.
”The bank’s support for infrastructure in the ECOWAS region has doubled over the past five years, increasing from two billion dollars in 2015; when I was first elected, to four billion,” he said.
Adesina called on African leaders to urgently address the rising security challenges on the continent, which are posing threats to development and investment opportunities.
“The security index investment bonds can be delivered through special purpose vehicles, established on behalf of a pool of regional member countries. The bonds can be credit enhanced by the AfDB and other donors
“The administration of the bond proceeds can be managed by the Africa Union’s Peace and Security Council and regional economic communities, which includes the ECOWAS Commission.
“Then Your Excellencies, we all can sleep with our eyes closed, to wake up the next morning, ready to work relentlessly to Africa’s assured destiny of prosperity. So, together, let us assure economic growth and prosperity for the West African region.
“Together, let us build greater resilience, financial and economic resilience, climate and health resilience.
“Together, let us give the region a well-financed security architecture that will secure the lives of people and enhance the attractiveness of the region as the prime investment destination.
”Let us mount the flag of ECOWAS on a higher mountain. Let us rise higher,” he stressed.
The Secretary of the organisation of Francophone countries, Louise Mushikwiwabo, expressed her organisation’s support for the steps so far taken by ECOWAS to restore political stability in Mali.
Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, who is the ECOWAS Mediator in the Malian crisis, also briefed the summit on the progress made so far in resolving the crisis in Mali.
ROYAL NEWS reports that Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, who is also participating in the summit, is expected back to Abuja after the meeting of the ECOWAS leaders later today.
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