The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government have commended Liberian political parties for their support towards ensuring a violence free election process in the country and urged them to be fully committed to their Resolution of September 21-23, 2016 in Ganta, Nimba County, as well as the Farmington Declaration signed on the margins of the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, the commendation was contained in the Final Communiqué of the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority held at the Farmington Hotel in lower Margibi County on Sunday, June 4.
The authority also applauded the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of peace in Liberia and took note of the UNMIL drawdown and its eventual end of mandate in March 2018.
The authority further called on the international community to continue its robust engagement in Liberia beyond UNMIL’s departure, the establishment of a standalone peacebuilding/political office in Liberia to support the incoming administration and to facilitate a smooth transfer of the facilities to ECOWAS.
Meanwhile, on economic performance and the implementation of regional integration programs, the authority noted that West Africa was severely affected by the slowdown in the continent’s overall economic activity in 2016, with ECOWAS real GDP growth standing at 0.2 percent in 2016, compared with the 3.3 percent in 2015 and 6.1 percent in 2014.
The authority urged the Members States to initiate the necessary structural reforms in order to be more resilient to exogenous shocks arising from commodity price fluctuations.
The authority also encouraged the Member States to undertake the necessary measures that would enable them to attain the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in the area of poverty reduction and job creation.
Concerning the free movement of persons and goods, the authority took note of the country reports of the taskforce on free movement, which highlighted the continued impediment to the free movement of persons and goods within the ECOWAS region.
The Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their strong commitment to the implementation of the provisions of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Residence, and Establishment. In this regard, the leaders agreed to speed up the introduction of the biometric identity card and removal of non-tariff barriers, to facilitate intra-community trade and enhance security in the region.
With respect to the Customs Union, the Heads of State and Government welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) by the Member States and the development process of the Community Customs Code. They reaffirmed their commitment to the smooth and timely implementation of the ECOWAS CET, and thereby urged the Member States yet to implement the CET to fast-track the process.
On agricultural development and infrastructure, the authority welcomed the results achieved in the implementation of the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP), in particular, its 2025 strategic orientations through regional and national agricultural investment plans, as well as food and nutrition security. They equally welcomed the strengthening of cooperation with various technical and financial partners.
Convinced of the need to accelerate the implementation of regional interconnection projects, the authority welcomed the progress made in infrastructure development, notably road and maritime, and commended the signing of the Dakar – Abidjan Corridor Supplementary Act, which provides a legal framework for the construction of the Lagos – Dakar Highway.
The authority designated Macky Sall, President of Senegal, as the president to champion the supervision of the implementation of the Dakar – Abidjan Corridor Highway Development Project, and Alhassane Ouattara, President of Cote d’Ivoire, as the president to champion the supervision of the implementation of the Abidjan –Dakar Corridor Highway Development Project.
It further reiterated its commitment to the infrastructural development, particularly the Sealink project, which achievement will bring positive impact on regional integration.
The authority reiterated its commitment to continue coordination and advocacy actions to resolve the energy deficit in the region.