President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has left the country to attend the 47th Ordinary Session of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government in Accra, Ghana.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf is attending the summit meeting at the invitation of Ghanaian President, John Mahama, who is also Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.
This is the fifth time that President Mahama is hosting an ECOWAS summit in Accra since he became the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government at Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire in 2014.
Although the agenda of the meeting has not been released, it is believed to be focused on issues of common interests and security challenges affecting the sub-region.
Previous ECOWAS meetings in Ghana in the last months have been dominated by the integration agenda, the Ebola menace, challenges associated with terrorism such as those of the Boko Haram threat to parts of Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria, the impasse that occurred in Burkina Faso, the Malian crisis, and the reconstruction efforts for post-conflict Guinea Bissau.
The Session might consider updates on the diminishing Ebola epidemic in the sub-region, a review of the security situations in parts of Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria and the planned deployment of the 7,000-strong multi-national joint task force, among other important matters.
Meanwhile, during President Sirleaf’s absence from the country, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Julia Duncan – Cassell, will chair the Cabinet in collaboration with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai.
The President is expected to return to Monrovia today May 19.