ESTABLISHED by the Treaty of Lagos on May 28th 1975, The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, with its over 300 million citizens able to freely move and reside in any of its 15-Member States, has been living the dream of its founding fathers – Forging an economically integrated, prosperous, politically stable and socially liveable region.
The Theme of this year’s anniversary is: 45 years of solidarity for the West African people.
Supplemented by two sub-themes:
- Promoting socio–economic and human development together through regional integration; and
- Combating Covid-19 together in West Africa.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou in his statement to commemorate the 45th Anniversary highlighted that ECOWAS Member States have shown resilience in the past 45 years. Going through political, economic, social and health challenges together and coming out stronger.
While noting the achievements of ECOWAS, President Brou highlighted that the efforts were being compromised by insecurity and threat of terrorism in the central Sahel region and North Eastern Nigeria.
This, he said, led the Community to convene an Extraordinary Summit to deal with the threat which led to the preparation of a Regional Action Plan adopted in December 2019 by the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.
As the Region is jointly fighting terrorism and assisting the refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, the new threat of the COVID-19 pandemic according to President Brou, is unfolding in health, economic, social, and humanitarian impacts.
According the data from the West African Health Organization, WAHO, as of today all ECOWAS Member States are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with 30,543 confirmed cases as at May 26th, 2020, 12,398 recoveries, sadly 655 deaths, and 17,490 active cases.
The ECOWAS Commission and WAHO have been working to support Member States since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the Region by providing essential medical supplies and equipment as well as capacity building.
In the past 45 years, ECOWAS has recorded many successes in all domains despite the enormity of the problems the region faces at times.
The Community continues to build on the core elements of the integration project, including free movement of persons and goods and the right of establishment. Progress has also been made in the area of democracy and good governance in the Region with the ECOWAS Electoral assistance programme, and also peace keeping and Regional security through the ECOWAS Standby Force and Mediation.
President Brou in his statement thanked Continental partners such as the African Union and the African Development Bank, which he said, are instrumental in providing an African response to the crisis.
He also thanked international partners, including the United Nations, the Bretton Woods Institutions, the European Union, the G20 and bilateral donors, which provided timely support.
The President also congratulate all staff of the ECOWAS Institutions (Commission, Parliament, Court of Justice, Groupe Intergouvernemental d’Action contre le Blanchiment d’Argent en Afrique de l’Ouest, GIABA, West African Health Organization, WAHO, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, EBID, and Office of the Auditor General).
“By sheer dint of hard work and conscientious devotion to duty, you have collectively moved us further up the road to realizing the fundamental vision of our Founding Fathers for accelerated economic and social development in the region, through a process of integration, buttressed by conditions of political stability, as well as peace and security, thus enabling its citizens to enjoy a shared and prosperous future,” he said
– June 1, 2020 @ 09:00 GMT /