ECOWAS Commission president tasks China on regional peace, security, receives $200,000 grant

President de Souza and Ambassador Zhou
President de Souza and Ambassador Zhou

 

MARCEL de Souza, the president of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS,  has charged the government of China on the need to continuously support the regional efforts towards ensuring a peaceful and stable West Africa.

De Souza gave his concerns on peace and security assistance at the ECOWAS Commission, Abuja while receiving the official Cheque for a $200,000 capacity building grant from the Chinese government brought in by Pingjian Zhou, the Chinese envoy to Nigeria and ECOWAS, on November 9, 2017.

The president cited Mali as one of the flashpoints in the region which can benefit from Chinese assistance in equipment and logistics support in order to consolidate the regional efforts at bringing about lasting peace in the area as well as helping to stave off security threats from locations outside the African continent.

Raising other concerns, de Souza observed that although pleased to participate in the events to which the ECOWAS Commission is invited by China, the commission would appreciate a holistic framework under which such activities are held in order to plan appropriately.

Thanking the Chinese government for its dynamic relations with the regional organization, and for undertaking to construct the headquarter building of ECOWAS, President de Souza requested for updates so as to ensure that progress of work is captured in planning and award of certain contracts meant to remedy some problems currently encountered at the Commission.

The President also intimated his guest on the upcoming meeting of the Community Development Programme, CDP, slated for January 2018 and called for Chinese contribution and participation in the Public Private Partnership Schemes of ECOWAS.

Responding, Zhou disclosed that China has drawn up a magnificent blueprint for Chinese future development and “we feel that this has a positive bearing on the china relations with ECOWAS”

He stressed that the blueprint dwells on the eradication of abject poverty by 2075 being part of the goals to realize China’s modernisation since the communist nation was founded in 1949.

“China is increasing her assistance to developing countries. We will implement the policy framework reflecting what we have pledged,” he added.

Zhou also maintained that Chinese soldiers are in Mali as part of The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, MINUSMA. According to him, as the largest troops contributing country among the Permanent Security Council Members of the UN, China is also cooperating on the bilateral level with military assistance and relevant exchanges.(L-R) Dr. Sow, Ambassador Zhou, President de Souza, Liu Guiming, VP Edward Singhatey and, Mr. Kouroma

He assured that China was open to the idea of PPP but on a case by case and project-specific basis. Confirming that there was commercial discussion regarding the PPP, he said: “It is the first step. We encourage Chinese communities to follow up on projects in the ECOWAS region but what they do with our advice is a business decision. We are always ready to provide contacts and details. We do a lot under FOCAC (Forum on Africa-China Cooperation). We obviously want to do more but China is still learning how to be a better partner in promoting Peace and Security in Africa”

The Chinese envoy who was accompanied Liu Guiming, his embassy’s director, Political Section, gave further assurances on better communications with ECOWAS commission including the need to take the concerns raised over the construction of the headquarters building to Beijing with a view to expediting action on the matter.

On hand for the meeting were Edward Singhatey, the vice-president of the ECOWAS commission, Fatimata Dia Sow, the commission’s commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender as well as Kebbe Ahmed Kouroma, the commissioner for Finance.

 

–   Nov 10, 2017 @ 15:42 GMT |

 

 

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