IN continuation of its efforts to ensure development across the West African region, the ECOWAS commission has signed five memoranda of understanding, MoUs, relating to various development projects with a Chinese conglomerate. The signing ceremony between the ECOWAS commission and the CGC Overseas Construction Group, CGCOC, was conducted in Abuja, Nigeria, at the new headquarters building of CGC Nigeria Ltd, on Wednesday, January 20.
The ECOWAS delegation to the ceremony was led by Desire Kadre Ouedraogo, president of the commission, who was accompanied by Stephen Nartey, commissioner for General Administration, and Morlaye Bongoura, commissioner for Energy and Mines, as well as other top officials of the regional body. He was received on behalf of the CGCOC, by Li Xuhui, deputy chairman of the conglomerate and other top management staff of the construction giant. The two leaders described the signing of the MoUs as a significant step in cementing the long mutual relationship between China and the people of West Africa.
The five MoUs are those covering, including; the Trans-West African Railway, and the Trans-West African Coastal Highway. Others are on the West African Telecommunication Infrastructure Facilities, and the West African Regional Aviation Field as well as that of Construction of New ECOWAS Headquarters and related facilities in Abuja, Nigeria.
Ouedraogo commended the CGCOC for its role in ensuring a high impact intervention by the government of the Peoples’ Republic of China in the lives of millions of citizens of the West African region. He recalled the excellent arrangement made by the CGCOC during the ECOWAS delegation’s visit to the Chinese government and expressed his sincere appreciation to Chinese leadership under President Xi Jinping and Ji Weming, chairman of the CGCOC.
Ouedraogo also congratulated the CGCOC on the commissioning of the new headquarters of the CGC Nigeria Limited in Abuja. This, he said, was a clear evidence of the confidence reposed in the region by the Chinese people, its companies and government. He then urged the CGCOC to continue to utilise its expertise and experience in working with the ECOWAS to stimulate growth and development in the region.
The president also acknowledged and appreciated the assistance of the Chinese government by providing equipment to the ECOWAS Standby Force, ESF. This, he said, was a clear demonstration of the importance of the region to China and in line with President Xi’s commitment towards assisting the region. He noted that credit must be given to the CGCOC for the facilitative role it plays, in ensuring a cordial relationship between China and West Africa.
In his remarks, Li Xuhui, deputy chairman of the CGCOC, who signed the MoUs on behalf of the chairman and chief executive of the corporation, said the signing of the MoUs were just the beginning of long and fruitful relationship between ECOWAS and China. He said following the visit of the ECOWAS delegation to China, a high level report was compiled and presented by the CGCOC to the president of China and the Chinese Foreign Ministry as well as other important government establishments, on how best to partner with West Africa for growth and development.
Xuhui added that the CGCOC was the platform and the bridge for the ECOWAS/China cooperation. He said the corporation was ready and willing to cooperate and intervene on behalf of the ECOWAS, which was why it facilitated the visit of the ECOWAS president and his delegation, which elicited higher interest in the ECOWAS region by the government and people of China.
It would be recalled that Ouedraogo, president of the ECOWAS commission, led a high level delegation to China in 2015, as part of the ECOWAS developmental drive with the aim of building strong partnership with the international community.
Highlights of the signing ceremony includes a tour of the newly commissioned CGC Nigeria Headquarters, screening of a short documentary on the efforts of the Chinese company in stimulating growth and development in Africa as well as working launch for the delegation.
— Feb 1, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT