EU Commits US$1 Billion to ECOWAS Infrastructure Development

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A little over a week after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union has made an initial commitment of US$1 billion for infrastructural development, especially for roads and energy, during her tenure.

The European Union has committed at least US$1 billion from now to the end of 2017 for the period that President Sirleaf will be chairperson of ECOWAS. This is the amount of monies that they are going to spend on infrastructure, especially roads and energy in the region,ö Information Minister Lenn Eugene

Nagbe told Executive Mansion reporters at the Roberts International Airport when he arrived with the President from a series of state visits including Senegal, the United States and Israel.

This is meant to say that the President has started the ball rolling upon her election as ECOWAS chairperson and the fruits of her chairmanship have begun to manifest or be seen,ö he said.

Minister Nagbe described the PresidentÆs visits as being very successful, further indicating that in her very short reign at the regional body, she has now begun to align aid to West Africa, mostly in road connectivity, power generation and distribution, in a way that will be more effective and efficient.

Minister Nagbe noted that the European UnionÆs commitment was further confirmed at a meeting President Sirleaf held in Brussells, Belgium, with an EU team that is responsible for ECOWAS and African Affairs, before her return to the country on Friday.

He also indicated that the President highlighted some of the major challenges that the region faces, such as terrorism and infrastructural deficits, during talks with Israeli authorities.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, at a meeting with President Sirleaf, called for more intelligence sharing and the enhancement of capabilities to defeat terrorism, which is causing global carnage.á

He said Israel is ready to provide such capabilities and work with African nations at bilateral and multilateral levels.

Upon congratulating President Sirleaf for her preferment by her colleagues to chair ECOWAS, the Israeli PM admonished her to use her position to provide the leadership required for closer ties between Israel and Africa, adding: ôSuch cooperation will be mutually beneficial to all partiesö.

Min. Nagbe disclosed that the Israeli PM promised to visit Liberia shortly in furtherance of the discussions they had in Israel, adding that he promised to use his upcoming visit to East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda) to reiterate greater cooperation between Israel and African countries.

After East Africa, my next visit will be to West Africa, Madam President; I look forward to you hosting me soon,ö the Prime Minister said.

During the PresidentÆs time out of Liberia, she had over twenty-five meetings with political and economic global leaders in the countries she visited. According to Minister Nagbe, these meetings were all beneficial to the country. ôAll of these meetings were geared toward solidifying LiberiaÆs development agenda,ö he said.

During the meeting with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, she didnÆt just speak on behalf of Liberia, but ECOWAS as a whole. She cited some of the problems that the region faces, mostly terrorism, and how Israel could find partnership with countries in the region so that we can deal with the emerging threat of terrorism,ö he said.

According to him, the President also, during talks with Israeli authorities, advocated for the seeking of global peace and security, which would be the most appropriate way of ending global terrorism.

The PresidentÆs advocacy comes in the wake of a terrorist attack against Israel about an hourÆs drive from where President Sirleaf was holding talks with Israeli authorities in Jerusalem. Five persons initially lost their lives in the attack, while several others were wounded.

According to Minister Nagbe, PM Netanyahu told President Sirleaf that he is willing to meet with his Palestine counterparts without any preconditions. ôI think this is a milestone achievement for the President in her capacities as a Nobel Laureate and a renowned global leader,ö said Nagbe.

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