BY Victoria Ojeme
The Vice President of Economic Community of West African (ECOWAS) Commission, Madam Finda Koroma has said that West Africa region has improved in all development indices, insisting that countries in the region are now borderless than in the past.
Speaking during the meeting of ECOWAS Administrative and Finance Committee (AFC) in Abuja, Koroma said: “We have moved economic and monetary integration agenda forward and have enhanced the peace and security architecture to foster tranquility for political, social and economic development in our region.”
She noted that: “our 2021 programming has led to improvements in key areas of our community such as agriculture, environmental protection, climate change mitigation and adaptation, infrastructural development, promotion of education and cultural exchange, youth development, and the advancement of gender equality.
“We have also witnessed significant improvements in our health sector and have leveraged on our coordination role to facilitate the availability of health solutions for our people, especially on COVID-19 management.”
Koroma while admitting that 2021 has been an interesting year for everyone, said: “There have been many highs and some lows which have all come together to enhance the resilience of our people and ECOWAS institutions.”
She said: “Our people, our institutions and our staff have demonstrated agility and tenacity to carry on with our various mandates with some outstanding results, despite the common and individual challenges we faced in the implementation of our duties.”
Koroma said: “Notably, distinguished delegates, through our programming this year, our communities are becoming closer and more borderless. We have come very close to adopting a common vision, namely the ECOWAS Vision 2050, that will guide our growth in the next 30 years.
“The development of Vision 2050 has been an inclusive and participatory and I cannot but express my sincere appreciation to all AFC members for your support to the process. We certainly would not have been able to get the active participation of the people of the region without you driving the process at Member State level.”
She noted that: “Our private sector is becoming more engaged and is receiving significant support in advancing economic development and integration for our region, especially in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This includes support to ICT start-ups. Special initiatives such as the Regional Stabilisation and Development Fund and the Integrated Human Capital Development Strategy have advanced significantly in achieving their respective objectives.”
In her remark, Commissionner of Finance, ECOWAS Commission, Mrs Halima Ahmed said the budget presentation being the last for the present administration would aimed at a seamless transition.
She said: “As already indicated by our indefatigable Vice President, HE Madam Finda, we will be presenting to you the budget, which I can call “The Budget of Transition”, prepared to ensure seamless transition and support the take- off of the new Management come 1st March 2022.
We look forward to your discussions and input in the usual friendly atmosphere.”
In his opening remark, the Chair of the Administration and Finance Committee of ECOWAS Commission, Mohammed Ismaila disclosed that information, so far, on the 2021 Budget implementation is indicative of the indispensability of the Community Levy as the largest source of revenue for ECOWAS, accounting for 71% of the approved Income for 2021.
He therefore pleaded with all Member States to continue to honour their financial obligations to the Community through their prompt contributions to the community levy to rightly equip ECOWAS with the requisite financial capabilities to effectively deliver its mandate.