KADRE Desire Ouedraogo, president of the ECOWAS commission, has linked the achievements recorded by the regional organisation during his tenure to the positive contributions made by the outgoing statutory appointees of the commission.
Ouedraogo made the disclosure during the farewell ceremony in honour of the seven statutory appointees, which held at the ECOWAS Commission on the Tuesday January 26.
According to the president, when the team assumed work in 2012, it was charged with the task of consolidating peace and security, promoting democracy and human rights, accelerating regional integration in all aspects of economic and social life, (particularly through the implementation of legal instruments on free movement of persons and goods). It was also tasked with the promotion of economic prosperity through the creation of a sustainable regional environment that encourages investments and entrepreneurship, as well as development of modern infrastructure alongside the building of mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships with other parts of Africa and the world in order to address the challenges of globalisation.
Maintaining that the statutory appointees had justified the trust and confidence placed on them, Ouedraogo noted that whatever was being said in their honour was a “well-deserved tribute for the remarkable courage and strong resilience they displayed in the light of this daunting task.”
Addressing an attentive audience made up of staff of the ECOWAS institutions led by Justice Maria Do Ceu Monteiro Silva, president of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, representatives of partner institutions, members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the ECOWAS, and the development partners, Ouedraogo made references to the resolution of the crises in Mali, Guinea Bissau and Burkina Faso, and the fight against terrorism and organised crime through the new counter-terrorism strategy and the joint maritime security policy with Central Africa as glaring examples where the exertions of the team work paid off.
Also highlighted were the smooth and acceptable conduct of elections in 2015 in five member states, as well as the collective ability to successfully address challenges such as the Ebola Virus Disease.
Further, the president cited the consolidation of the borderless region through the implementation of the Ouagadougou roadmap, adoption of the single biometric identity card to replace the residence permit, adoption of the ECOWAS biometric laissez-passer for staff of the institutions, launch of the institutional reform and smooth renewal of management of institutions, introduction of the automated financial management system Ecolink, and take-off of the Institutions Staff Pension Scheme which will guarantee peaceful retirement for staff members. Others are the expansion of the Commission to 15 members, launch of the Abidjan-Lagos Highway project and railway loop, construction of Joint Border Posts in Sémé and Noepé, realisation of the customs union through the implementation of a Common External Tariff, finalisation of EPA negotiations with the European Union, steady progress towards the creation of the single currency by 2020, including the reactivation of the monetary cooperation programme. He also cited progress in the interconnection of electricity networks and support to power generation systems of several countries, promotion of centres of excellence and launch of the Nnamdi Azikiwe scholarship scheme for academic mobility, and the institution this year of an ECOWAS prize to reward those who distinguish themselves in the promotion of integration.
Building on the submission of Fatimata Dia Sow, commissioner, Gender & Social Affairs, again espousing the remarkable achievements by the team in the area of financial stability, Jonas Hemou, the ECOWAS director, External Relations, particularised the virtues of the departing officials giving greater insights into the values that each added to the organisation.
Responding on behalf of the departing appointees, Ibrahim Bocar Ba, commissioner, Microeconomic Policies, thanked the Commission for the opportunity to serve the community. He listed the progress made in various sectors where there are significant programmes and projects, sued for continuity, defended the relevance of meetings for achievements and surmised thus: “ECOWAS remains in our hearts. We will continue to work for ECOWAS whether we are here or not.”
The departing appointees were presented with souvenirs and treated to a cocktail. They included the president of the Commission, who is on a second stint at ECOWAS having been the deputy Executive Secretary between 1985 to 1993, Toga Gayewea McIntosh, vice-president; Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and Security, PAPS: Lapodini Marc Atouga, Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources; Ibrahim Bocar Ba; Microeconomic Policies; Ahmed Hamid, Trade, Customs and Free Movement, and Ebrima Njie, Infrastructure.
— Jan 28, 2016 @ 16:45 GMT