ECOWAS Commission calls for increased trade volumes among Member States

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Ouedraogo is calling for an increase in the rate and volume of trade among Member States.

This, he noted would empower efforts to reaching a full inter-regional trade integration in the West African sub-region.

There have been several trade barriers in the sub-region militating against trade liberalization among citizens of Members States.

‘The needful increase of inter-regional trade will not be possible without a full application of the protocols on the free movement of persons and goods and strengthening regional infrastructure, without forgetting the improvement of the Commission’s performance, which will be the outcome of the ongoing institutional reform we have outsourced to an international firm,’ he said.

Mr. Ouedraogo was addressing the 45th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Accra Thursday.

The Commission’s President assured participants that ‘the conclusions of your deliberations will be implemented by the Commission with the requisite efficiency.’

The one-day summit brought together Heads of State of the region to discuss the interim report to be presented by the ECOWAS Commission’s president.

It also sought to consider updates on the security situation in the sub-region as well as finding ways to contain the deadly Ebola virus, which has killed more than 467 persons in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Mr.  Ouedraogo further appealed to development partners to continue supporting ‘us on the basis of our priorities, in the efforts we deploy to consolidate and amplify our attainments and to face new challenges.’

He reaffirmed that concerns of the women and the youth in the region would be factored in the activities of the Commission ‘and we shall build for them a future, commensurate with the potential and advantages of the region; a future we all dream of.’

On his part, Ghana’s President and ECOWAS Chairman John Mahama urged the Commission and Member States to become strong advocates for the implementation of the Common External Tariff.

He noted plans were far advanced to kick-start its operation on January, 1, 2015.

‘I wish therefore to take this opportunity to urge the ECOWAS Commission and Member States to ensure that, all ECOWAS citizens, especially importers, are well informed to become strong advocates and stakeholders in the implementation of the Common External Tariff,’ President Mahama said.

Meanwhile, the ECOWAS Chairman congratulated Guinea Bissau’s newly elected President Jose Mario Vaz, who attended the summit for the first time.

President Mahama advised him not to relent on seeking support from his colleague Heads of State and Government during his tenure of office.

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