The West African sub-region is said to be smarting under serious security challenges despite the holding of two successive elections in the region, ECOWAS Commission President Mr. Marcel Alain de Souza said Monrovia.
Ghana and the Gambia are the two countries in the region to have held elections recently, although the latter was climaxed by pressure from the regional body to force the exit of President YayaJammeh.
“… And it is our collective responsibility to ensure that peaceful coexistence returns to every corner of our region”, he said Thursday, 25 May at the Monrovia City Hall before extending best wishes to Liberia “for a successful and peaceful general elections scheduled later this year”.
An ECOWAS Summit is ongoing here in Liberia after some 40 years, with approximately 200 participants expected to attend the meeting that is due to be climaxed by the 51st Ordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on Sunday, 4 June.
The ECOWAS Commission Chief urged during the opening session on Thursday that efforts be doubled towards the improvement of the lives of citizens within the region and the realization of an ECOWAS of people.
“While some remarkable successes have been recorded in the 42 years of ECOWAS, challenges still exist, and it is our collective duty to ensure that the forward steps taken so far are not slowed down or reversed’, Mr. de Souza said.
Meanwhile, Mr. de Souza has encouraged all member states to continue with efforts towards the realization of the sub-region’s single currency goal.His encouragement comes following the first sitting of the Administration and Finance Committee or AFC of ECOWAS in Monrovia, which has witnessed multiple questions.
Welcoming guests at the Monrovia City Hall on Thursday, 25 May, AFC administration and finance committee chairman Mr. Benedict D. Roberts pondered whether the body’s decisions from last deliberations considered budget request that focuses on youth and gender development in member states.
Mr. Roberts raised further observations on whether the Commission transmitted “the 20,000 recommended by AFC and approved by the Council for youth development / employment” to member states.
As first line of examiners, he says the [AFC] is charged with responsibility to critically review and determine whether or not expenditures are in line with ECOWAS’ strategic framework, goals and objectives.
Though he says the AFC has continuously pledged its unflinching support to the Commission and its specialized institutions in its determination to implement the work of the Community, Mr. Roberts, however, suggests that the relationship between the AFC and other institutions “appear to exist only during the AFC meeting”.
He termed it a “lukewarm relationship”, suggesting that it is incumbent upon all to improve on the interest of ECOWAS.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah