ECOWAS and UEMOA Reiterate Committment to Collaborate Towards Regional Integration

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Abuja - Nigeria — The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, and his counterpart for the West African Economic and Monetary Union, (UEMOA), Mr. Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumaré, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the institutional arrangements for operationalising the cooperation agreement and partnership between the two institutions.

The MOU, which was signed on Friday, 23 November 2012 at the headquarters of the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Nigeria aims at improving the functionality of the cooperation mechanisms established by the Agreement of cooperation and partnership between ECOWAS and UEMOA of 5th May 2004, to promote coordination and harmonization of development efforts of both organizations which will aid in strengthening West Africa's integration. "Today's ceremony is an important step in the process of regular consultations between our two institutions to ensure that our actions are the development most effective in the service of economic unification and regional integration in West Africa, " the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Ouédraogo said at the signing ceremony.

The Agreement, he said would equip the two organizations to better handle the current challenges facing the region through convergence of strategies deployed by the two organizations. "We have a responsibility to address these important challenges which are not insurmountable, "Mr. Ouédraogo said while expressing the hope that both organizations will deepen their cooperation. The ECOWAS Commission boss reiterated his commitment and determination to strengthen cooperation towards the achievement of objectives for which the Heads of State and Government in West Africa created these two organizations.

Mr. Soumaré in his response congratulated the officers and Commissioners of both institutions for the relevance of their recommendations and orientations that allowed the heads of both organizations to take appropriate decisions. In a world experiencing deep transformation marked by the geographical displacement of centers of gravity and accelerated process of globalization, the UEMOA President said West Africa is beset with multiple challenges related to food and physical insecurity, poverty and Youth unemployment which require structural responses and contact information.

"We have a common region, our ambitions are common, our people are common: the cocoa farmer in Ivory Coast or Ghana, or cotton farmer from Burkina Faso, or peanut farmer from Senegal, the breeder in Niger, or the fisherman in Guinea- Bissau, or trader in Mali does not care about his membership in UEMOA or ECOWAS but only fully conscious of belonging to Africa and probably to a region, called West Africa." he noted. "He therefore has legitimate expectations: food, housing, health and peaceful co-existence and our organizations were created to accompany or lead countries and their citizens onto the path of sustainable growth and development and we must respond to these expectations, "said Mr. Soumaré.

The ceremony ended with a series of coordination meetings between officials of the two institutions which started Monday, 19th November, 2012 at the headquarters of ECOWAS Commission in the framework of the 9th session of the UEMOA-ECOWAS Joint Technical Committee (STC). It enabled experts from STC, Commissioners as well as Presidents of the Commissions of ECOWAS and UEMOA to discuss issues of convergence and coordination of the various programs sector driven by two sub-regional organizations UEMOA's headquarters is in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and composed of eight countries which are part of the fifteen Member States of ECOWAS, (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo).

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