The ECOWAS Member State should adopt innovative approach in finding solutions to the global economic meltdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration made the call at the opening ceremony of the 88th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Accra on Thursday.
It was imperative for ECOWAS Member State to act in concept to address the challenges facing the Region, the Minister said.
“We need to strengthen our solidarity in building a resilient mechanism to address these challenges. We should ensure the production of essential goods and services and boost intra-regional trade,” Ms Botchway added.
To ensure sustainable socio-economic growth within the sub-region, Ms Botchway underscored the need for ECOWAS Member State to intensify intra-regional trade, promote free movement of people and goods, value addition on agricultural products, adopt digital economy and reinforcing the human capital base.
Ms Botchway expressed gratitude to the Counci members for their immense support during her two-year stewardship as Chair of the Council.
Mr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, in his welcome remarks, thanked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government for his sterling leadership over the past two years.
He also thanked Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers for her stewardship of the Council and implementing decisions of the Authority of Heads of State and Government.
“We are proud of your personal commitment and dedication to safeguarding the interests of the Community,” he said.
Mr Kassi Brou noted that the meeting was characterised by the lingering security crisis in the frontline countries- Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria and several other coastal countries.
Those different crises, he said, were compounded by the devastating consequences of climate change, resulting in a difficult humanitarian situation.
The two-day meeting will consider the reports on the management of the ECOWAS institutions and the activities of the various departments of the Commission.
The Council will also discuss the report on the state of the Community, the report of the Administration and Finance Committee, and the financial situation of the Community as at the end of May 2022.
The Auditor-General of ECOWAS Commission will also present a report on his activities for the year 2021, which will be followed by the report of the 47th Audit Committee.
During the closed-door session, he said, the Council will consider the report of the Ad Hoc Ministerial Committee for the Selection and Evaluation of the Performance of Statutory Appointees of the Community for the 2022 – 2026 period.
“This session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers is the last to be attended by the Commission over which I preside.
“I would, therefore, like to express, on behalf of the Institutions, statutory appointees and staff of the Community, our utmost gratitude for your support and guidance throughout these four years,” Mr Kassi Brou stated.
He said throughout its tenure, the Council made every effort to meet the expectations of ECOWAS leaders and people.
However, he said, much more remained to be done to actualize the ECOWAS Vision 2050, with the mantra: “ECOWAS of the Peoples: Peace and Prosperity for All”.
“I’m confident that our region will once again show resilience and our economies will make a strong recovery for the benefit of our people,” he assured.