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CET and EPA on the agenda of the extraordinary session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Abidjan

Speaking at the opening of the Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers on Monday, 30 September 2013 in Abidjan, Mr. Diby tasked his peers and colleagues in charge of Trade and Finance at the meeting, to make relevant proposals on the strategic guidelines to adopt for the advancement of the Community.

 

«More importantly, we should take into account the requirements relating to the acceleration of the regional integration process through trade liberalization, macroeconomic policy harmonization and, especially the need to form a united bloc for the management of the economic interests of our States in negotiations with the European Union», Mr. Diby said.

 

The EPA negotiations between West Africa and the European Union, the ECOWAS CET, regional monetary cooperation, the memorandum of the President of the ECOWAS Commission on the consolidation of the regional market are the main items in the agenda. The meeting will also discuss the feasibility of the creation of a single currency for West Africa by 2020 through a two-step strategy that requires the creation of a second regional currency by 2015. The Chairman noted that significant progress has been made in the regional efforts to address the issues pertaining to the implementation of the issues in the agenda.

 

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, used the opportunity of his earlier speech to underscore some of the major challenges in these areas and stressed the urgent need to speed up the effective integration of regional markets.

 

In particular, Mr. Ouédraogo urged the Ministers to find additional consensus measures aimed at resolving the issue of the proposed Integration Community Levy (ICL), taking into account the outstanding concerns of certain Member States regarding the impact of the CET implementation on their industries.  «It has not been difficult thus far, to strike a balance between national concerns and regional interest, proving thence, that regional interest takes precedence over national issues. With this general understanding, it is no longer necessary to prove the overriding need to integrate our economies. It will occur through the intensification of trade among our Member States, and through the improvement of our competitiveness and development of our production potential», declared Mr. Ouédraogo. He believed that the realism and relevance of the recommendations of this special Council will go a long way to strengthen the economic integration of

West Africa.

 

This special Council forms part of preparations for the next Extraordinary

ECOWAS Summit scheduled for October 2013 in Dakar, Senegal, which will deliberate on economic issues such as the finalization of the ECOWAS CET, ICL, the EPA and the regional monetary cooperation programme.

 

The Council comprises ministers responsible for Integration and Finance of

ECOWAS Member States who were joined by their counterparts for Trade for this extraordinary session.

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