May 8, 2023

President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray has pledged that the West Africa bloc will continue to support member states in transition currently Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea to return to normal constitutional rule in his address at the opening of the 2023 first Ordinary Session.

According to him there is mobilisation of international support for Burkina Faso and Mali to fight terrorism and address humanitarian crises.

“We also continue to support elections in our Member States both as a conflict prevention measure and a support to our democratization process. In this regard, I would like to commend the Government and people of Nigeria for their political maturity, which has made it possible to organize peaceful presidential and legislative elections”.

He took the opportunity to also congratulate the President-elect, His Excellency Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu and to reiterate to him the Community’s full readiness to work closely with him on matters affecting the region.

“It is worthy to recall here that our meeting today is taking place in a context characterized by upheavals in the international environment. The situation in our region remains worrisome. Nonetheless, we are deploying all resources to ensure stability, security, and resilience in our Member States”.

Similarly, they are deploying the necessary electoral assistance to member states going for elections soon; the legislative elections in Guinea Bissau and the Presidential elections in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

As they recently sent fact-finding missions to examine the state of preparations for the elections in the two countries. Based on the outcome of this Mission, ECOWAS will provide its traditional support for the organisation of the next elections.

On the economic front, he noted that despite inflationary pressures due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the economies of the region are resilient and continue to post growth rates (3.1% according to the World Bank) with good prospects in general.

However, they are seriously concerned about the security situation prevailing in our region, with the persistence and resurgence of terrorist acts in the countries of the three-border line: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and north-eastern Nigeria. These acts have resulted in targeted attacks against both military personnel and civilians, resulting in numerous casualties, material damage and displacement. The novelty of these attacks is that they are spreading to coastal countries (Benin, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire).

“Therefore, our region must adopt a multifaceted and coordinated approach and pool our resources to eradicate this scourge”, he added

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/