Posted by: africanpressorganization | 18 December 2008

Nigeria / ECOWAS / Two presidents to present recommendations for improving regional infrastructrure at Abuja summit



Nigeria / ECOWAS / Two presidents to present recommendations for improving regional infrastructrure at Abuja summit


ABUJA, Nigeria, December 18, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Presidents Laurent Gbagbo of Cote d’Ivoire and Joao Bernado Vieira of Guinea Bissau will present their comprehensive recommendations for upgrading West Africa’s infrastructure during the 35th ordinary summit of Heads of State and Government on Friday, 19th December 2008 in Abuja.


Both Presidents were mandated by their peers during the 34th ordinary summit, also held in Abuja, to specifically make proposals for ameliorating the status of the transport and energy sectors which were seen as critical to the regional integration process.


Their recommendations will assist the region in its ongoing effort to boost both sectors, using them as instruments for fast tracking the pace of regional integration.


The presentations are expected to include recommendations of the Council of Ministers on the establishment of an ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) and an ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency as part of an action plan to find lasting solutions to the energy crises in West Africa. Both institutions have been recommended to take off on 1st January 2009 and will be hosted by Ghana and Cape Verde, respectively.


The Council of Ministers noted that the establishment of the Centre for renewable energy will ensure a sustainable development of the region’s renewable energy resources and the efficient use of energy.


The Council also validated the reports and resolutions of a regional Ministers of Transport which reviewed the implementation of sectoral policies and programmes relating to air, road, railway, sea and inland waterways.


Recommendations in the report include the implementation of the transport facilitation programme adopted in Accra in 2003, building of joint border posts to ensure the free flow of cross-border traffic, adoption of a policy to ensure rehabilitation and interconnection of railways between Member States, supporting of the regional airline A-Sky as well as speeding up of the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision to open up the air transport market and improve air links between Member States.


The one-day summit will also consider the 2008 Annual Report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the reports of the preceding meetings of the Council of Ministers and the Mediation and Security Council, comprising Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 15 Member States, both of which were held in Ouagadougou late November and early December 2008.


The meeting of the Mediation and Security Council had recommended measures to strengthen the security apparatus in Guinea Bissau and protect the President and national institutions in the wake of the 23rd November 2008 assassination attempt on President Joao Bernado Vieira.


It also agreed to protect the fledgling democracy in Guinea Bissau by supporting the on-going democratization process through the direct involvement of ECOWAS. Moreover, it recommended the re-launch of an appeal for the international community to fulfill its commitments to Guinea Bissau as recommended by the International Contact Group on Guinea Bissau (ICG-GB).


The Mediation and Security Council also praised the successful elections organized in 2008 in Benin, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. Furthermore, it expressed confidence with the steps taken by Ghana to ensure transparency in its 7th December 2008 general elections for which a run-off has been scheduled for 28th December 2008.


The Security Council report includes recommendations on the situation in the Gulf of Guinea and northern Mali and Niger; as well as Cote d’Ivoire, on which it was agreed that the peace process in the country is irreversible. It also proposes for adoption by the summit, the Political Declaration on the Prevention of Drug Abuse, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime in West Africa and the Regional Plan of Action – two crucial documents endorsed by a ministerial drug conference held in Praia, Cape Verde from 28th to 29th October 2008.


Included also in the report are recommendations relating to statutes and a plan of action which will govern the operations of the Council of the Wise and the ratification of the Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and Other Related Materials.


The report of the Council of Ministers which the summit will consider includes issues relating to the negotiation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between West Africa and Europe.


It also includes recommendations on the report of the Ministers of Women Affairs, which defines a 2009–2013 strategic plan for the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre based in Dakar; the reports and strategic action plans from the Ministers of Health, Child Matters as well as Youth and Sports.


The recommendations also cover several issues relating to all Community institutions, including the appointment of three new judges for the Community Court of Justice based in Abuja.


The Abuja summit will also have in attendance the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping and the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, who will address the summit on “The Role of the ADB in Infrastructural Development in West Africa”.



SOURCE : Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)


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