Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou of La Cote d’Ivoire has taken over as the new President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says Mr. Brou took over from Mr. Marcel de Souza of Benin who served one month short of his two years in charge of the ECOWAS Commission.
According to the release, Liberia’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Al-Hassan Conteh and other members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to Nigeria and ECOWAS, and staff and heads of various ECOWAS institutions, attended the ceremony held in Abuja, Nigeria on Thursday, March 1, 2018.
Mr. Ally Coulibaly, La Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister of African Integration and Ivoirians Abroad, and Mrs. Khadija Bukar Ibrahim, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, were among other high-profile dignitaries who also attended the event.
The Commission’s outgoing President, Mr. de Souza, in his farewell message, outlined the Commission’s significant progress. These include, he noted, the on-going ECOWAS institutional reform, the establishment of a regional television station, renewed commitments of Member States to the creation of the ECOWAS single currency by 2020, as well as plans for the construction of a new Commission headquarters.
The outgoing president also recalled the successful conduct of presidential elections in 2016 and 2017 in six ECOWAS Member States including Liberia; enhanced harmonization of macroeconomic and monetary integration policies, signing of the Association Agreement with Mauritania; repayment of debts and improved solvency; credibility and corporate image of the Commission; adoption and implementation of the ECOWAS Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct; as well as cost containment measures, among others.
Mr. de Souza, however, underscored some major challenges of the Commission, to include in particular, late payment of Community Levy by Member States, non-compliance with decisions of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, the stalemate in the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau, strengthening of regional integration, sustaining the gains made in managing staff welfare and cost control measures, among others.
For his part, the new President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, congratulated and thanked his predecessor for the impressive manner in which he led the regional organization for nearly two years.
Welcoming the progress ECOWAS made in political, institutional, security, economic and social levels, the new President of the Commission pledged to further strengthen them.
According to the release, Mr. Brou named some of the challenges that he must address during his four years presidency as Member States’ expectations in the areas of economic, social and human development, a synergy of actions for greater efficiency in their implementation and sound business environment to support and finance infrastructure, among others.
A native of Cote d’Ivoire, the new ECOWAS Commission President holds a Ph. D in Economics, an MBA in Finance from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, United States and, a Master’s degree from the National University of Cote d’Ivoire.
According to his profile, he began his professional career at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1982, first as a Senior Economist and served mainly in Senegal from 1990 to 1991 as IMF Resident Representative.
Until his appointment as President of the Commission, Mr. Brou served as Minister of Industry and Mines in Cote d’Ivoire since November 2012. Prior to that, he was Economic and Financial Adviser to the Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire from 1991 to 1995.
Also, he worked for eight years at the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), where he was successively Director of International Relations and Director of Studies until 2005. He thereafter headed the Department of Economic and Currency Studies before being appointed Special Adviser and Comptroller General from 2007 to 2008.
He was also the World Bank’s Resident Representative for Chad from 2010 to 2013, and Consultant to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Jean-Claude Brou is married with two children.