Statement by President Weah at the 59th Ordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Head of State and Government, Accra, Ghana – JUNE 19, 2021
Your Excellency Mr. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,
President of the Republic of Ghana and
Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government;
Excellencies, my Distinguished Colleagues of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government;
Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat
Chairperson of the African Union Commission;
The President and Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission;
The Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament and President of the Community Court of Justice
Mr. Mahamat Saleh Annadif
Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa, and the Sahel (UNOWAS)
Mr. Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary-General of Organization Internationale de la Francophonie;
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina
President of the African Development Bank Group;
Honorable Ministers and Other Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to His Excellency Mr. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, and Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, for the warm hospitality and facilities graciously put at our disposal for this Summit.
Mr. President and my Dear Brother, let me say congratulations on Ghana’s recent election as a Non-permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council for 2022-2023. This is indeed a major milestone for Ghana; as well as for all ECOWAS Member States.
Let me also commend the Chair and Members of the Council of Ministers for the excellent reports they have presented for our consideration and action at this Summit; including those on the reform of ECOWAS institutions.
As we are all aware, Excellencies, the issue of reform has been a major priority of ECOWAS since 2008, to make the structure of its community institutions lean and ensure the effective use of resources.
I wish to submit to Your Excellencies that this is the right course of action towards the efficient and effective financial management that the current economic situation of our regional body demands.
The reforms should be aimed not only at reducing costs but also increasing efficiency. Moreover, they should be holistic and all-encompassing across all ECOWAS institutions; including a review of the current fixed size of our constituent institutions, while also considering the reduction of other cost items; including the frequency of travel and the size of delegations.
In this respect, Liberia supports the implementation of the Maxwell Stamp Report on the new reform processes that would decentralize the functions of ECOWAS institutions and help them adopt a more business-like approach to services. These will further create space for cost-savings through the continued rationalization and reduction in redundant and overlapping activities of community institutions.
Therefore, let us build a consensus to structure and equitably reform ECOWAS to achieve efficiency and effectiveness while affording all Member States their rightful respective representations in the institutions of ECOWAS. Absolutely no one should be left behind or overlooked; going forward.
This new spirit of efficiency and effectiveness, coupled with solidarity, will help us meet the new Vision 2050 in providing the desired services that will positively impact the lives of all our community citizens.
Beyond our institutional reform, I believe that it is important that we should seek collaborative support from our multilateral partners for joint ventures in the private sector to combat the continued negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economies. The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a decline in investment and growth in the many Member States. In this respect, I wish to thank His Excellency Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for leading this effort as the COVID-19 Champion of ECOWAS.
EXCELLENCIES, DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
We are concerned that the stability of our region has been shaken by the recent political crisis in Mali. I thank our Chair, President Akuffo-Addo, for putting in place preventive diplomacy measures to find a lasting solution to this crisis that would help to put the transition process on an irreversible track in Mali.
Our sincere thanks also go to the Former President of the Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Mr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for working with all Malian stakeholders to re-energize the transition process.
Let me share with Your Excellencies, as one who now has the opportunity to serve at the helm of a post-conflict country, that any recurrences of the vexing factors affecting the Malian transitional process can be effectively addressed by supporting the National Early Warning and Response Mechanism. As a country that has made a successful post-war transition, Liberia has learned the lesson of the important role this Mechanism plays in conflict reduction.
In this regard, I am pleased to report that I recently submitted a Bill to the Legislature of Liberia for the ratification of the National Early Warning and Response Mechanism. I recommend that this Mechanism be closely utilized in Mali as an important tool of conflict resolution in their quest for peace and stability.
The reports before us today also indicate the increasing threats that our sub-region faces due to the alarming rise of terrorism, transnational crimes, and maritime insecurity. Therefore, we wish to issue a clarion call for our urgent efforts to mobilize resources to address these growing menaces.
To address these problems, let us redouble our efforts in consolidating our peace and security architecture to combat terrorism and strengthen our existing intelligence capacity, in coordination with the new subsidiarity arrangements of the African Union, and in continuing collaboration with the United Nations and other partner institutions.
EXCELLENCIES, DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
We must do more to achieve the new Vision 2050 of ECOWAS. As we move towards the achievement of this lofty goal, we are reminded by the reports laid before us at this Summit that our community faces both challenges and opportunities.
Beyond financial difficulties, we must make use of the opportunity presented in the Agenda for this Summit in deciding on the removal of the monetary barriers that would promote a new, flexible convergence criteria and standard for the adoption of our single currency, the ECO, as soon as possible. This would give new impetus to the acceleration of regional integration and economic growth and development.
Given the current challenges confronting our national economies, we call on all our partners to continue to complement our regional efforts in responding to the security and complex emergencies such as the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, and other peace and security threats that directly affect our sub-region.
The Agenda also provides an opportunity for the adoption of predictable and clear rules for the rotation of the post of Chair of the African Union, and in this regard, we take due cognizance of the linguistic criteria of an alternation. A seamless, rules-based procedure would enable all ECOWAS Member States to chair the AU in due course.
In this respect, I wish to congratulate my Brother and Friend, His Excellency Mr. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, for his preferment to chair the African Union from 2022-2023.
Finally, I wish all of us a constructive and productive exchange of views, as we strive to achieve consensus on the critical issues of institutional reform, and the other urgent matters of regional integration and economic development placed before us at this Summit.
I thank you.