The Point (Banjul)

17 July 2014

West Africa: Final Communique - Forty-Fifth Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government

document

1.The forty-fifth Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was convened in Accra, Republic of Ghana, on 10July 2014, and was chaired by His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, current Chairman of the Authority.

2. The following Heads of State and Government or their duly mandated representatives attended the Summit:

-H. E. Mr. Thomas Boni YAYI, President of the Republic of Benin

-H. E. Mr. Blaise COMPAORE, President of Burkina Faso

-H. E. Mr. Alassane OUATTARA, President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire

-H. E. Mr. John Dramani MAHAMA, President of the Republic of Ghana

- H. E. Mr. José Mario VAZ, President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau

- H. E. Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA, President of the Republic of Mali

-H. E. Mr. Mahamadou ISSOUFOU, President of the Republic of Niger

-H. E. Mr. Goodluck Ebele JONATHAN, President of Nigeria

-H. E. Mr. Macky SALL, President of the Republic of Senegal

-H. E. Mr. Ernest Bai KOROMA, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone

-H. E. Mr. Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE, President of the Togolese Republic

-H. E. Mrs. Isatou NJIE, Vice-President of the Republic of The Gambia

-H. E. Hon.Joseph Nyumah BOAKAI, Vice-President of the Republic of Liberia

-H. E. Mr. Lounceny FALL, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guinea

H. E. Mr. Cesar MONTEIRO, Ambassador of the Republic of Cape Verde in Senegal

3. The Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for West Africa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Popular and Democratic Republic of Algeria, the representatives of the President of Cameroun, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, President of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), as well as the Head of MINUSMA also attended the Summit as observers.

4. General Yakubu GOWON, former Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria also attended the Summit as a special guest.

5. During their Session, the Heads of State and Government took note of the 2014 Interim Report of the President of the Commission and the Reports of the 72nd Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers and the 32nd Meeting of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council presented by the Chairperson of Council.

6. The Authority welcomed the quality of the reports presented and the relevance of the challenges mentioned therein with a view to deepening the West African integration process.

7. The Heads of State and Government adopted the recommendations made in the different reports, and reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to accelerating the region's reforms and integrated economic development in an environment of sustainable peace, security and democratic good governance.

8. After careful consideration of the current challenges for the integration process, the Summit reached the following specific conclusions and decisions. Regional Economic Performance and Consolidation of the Common Market

9. The Authority takes note of the positive outlook of the regional growth achieved during the first half of the year 2014 and welcomes the observed gradual diversification of the economies. The Authority urges the Member States to sustain their efforts particularly by strengthening the economic, budgetary and financial reforms, as well as taking ownership and ensuring effective implementation of the regional programmes, with a view to consolidating the achievements.

10. In that regard, the Heads of State and Government welcome the actions implemented in line with the different roadmaps adopted, particularly by ensuring that the ECOWAS-CET comes into force on 1st January 2015, ensuring effective implementation of the trade liberalisation scheme and attaining the Monetary Union by 2020.

11. Furthermore, the Authority approves the abolition of the residence permit and the introduction of the Biometric Identity Card for the Community citizens. Regarding the status of residence permit and the introduction of the Biometric Identity Card for Community citizens and directs the Ministers in charge of Security to review all the security implications of the measure prior to the signing of the Supplementary Acts.

12. The Authority encourages the Member States to sustain these efforts to boost the regional economic performance and consolidate the common market. More specifically, the Authority instructs the Commission, in conjunction with all stakeholders, to ensure the implementation deadlines of the pending tasks.

13. The Summit reaffirms its sincere gratitude to His Excellency Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso, His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger and His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, respectively, for their coordination efforts and leadership role in the free movement of persons and goods, as well as monetary cooperation in West Africa. The Authority encourages them to sustain these efforts.

14. On the ECOWAS Single Currency, the Summit endorses the recommendations on the convergence criteria, the streamlining of the institutions and the revised roadmap with a specific indication of the institutions in charge of its implementation.Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

15. The Summit welcomes the work done by the Ad Hoc Committee set up by the 44th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government to consider the technical concerns raised by some Member States and whose recommendations led to appropriate solutions on these issues.

16. On the basis of the consensual results reached by the Chief Negotiators on all the issues (particularly on the market access offer, the EPA Development Programme (EPADP) and the text of the Agreement), the Heads of State and Government endorse the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiated which has taken due account of the technical concerns raised.

17. Consequently, the Heads of State and Government instruct the West African Chief Negotiators to take all necessary steps to quickly start the process of signing and implementing the Agreement.

18. In that regard, the Summit encourages them to sustain their efforts, particularly by informing and raising awareness of the national and regional actors.

19. The Authority congratulates the Chief Negotiators and the Ministerial Monitoring Committee for their resolve and sense of compromise that led, through a constructive approach, to the conclusion of a fair, balanced and mutually beneficial Agreement for both parties.

20. The Authority also reaffirms deep appreciation to His Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, for the decisive and highly political role he played in the successful conclusion of this development-oriented Agreement which reinforces the West African integration process.

Sectoral Policies

21. The Heads of State and Government underpin the importance of the sectoral policies in achieving the region's development goals.

22. The Authority reiterates its main decisions to ensuring food security, access to energy, development of regional infrastructure and human development, and reducing the region's vulnerability to the climate change challenges. The Summit directs the Commission to continue coordinating activities to implement the various regional policies adopted to this effect.

23. The Authority reiterates its gratitude to His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, for his leadership role in boosting the infrastructure sector, as a way of improving the region's competitiveness. The Authority encourages him to continue with those efforts.

24. The Heads of State and Government adopt the Community Development Programme (CDP), whose priority components and projects identified, contributed to sustain the medium and long-term development challenges of the region.

25. In that regard, the Authority directs the Commission to take appropriate measures to mobilize the resources needed to implement the development programme. It appeals to all development partners to put to support the implementation of the programme.

26. The Authority also reaffirms the principle of solidarity as the foundation of the Community.In that regard, it highlights the need to ensure balanced development in the region, through appropriate and all-inclusive investments in all the countries, particularly in the area of infrastructure.

Peace and Security

27. The Heads of State and Government note with satisfaction, the progress recorded in the process of democratic consolidation and stability in the Member States, which climaxed in the successful swearing-in of the democratically elected President of Guinea Bissau, His Excellency José Mário Vaz on 23 June 2014. In this regard, they take note of the commitment of the Community to the value and practice of democracy and good governance which progressively deepened the democratic culture in the Member States and ensured that all the ECOWAS Member States are now governed by democratically-elected Governments.

28. In the light of the above and in view of the critical Presidential and Parliamentary elections scheduled for 2015 in Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria and Togo, the Authority reiterates its commitment to ensuring that the processes preceding, and the actual conduct of these elections are free, fair and credible, in line with the Constitutional Convergence and Democratic Elections Principles of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001) and in accordance with internationally-acceptable standards.

29. The Authority recalls the conclusions of the Extraordinary Summit of 30 May 2014 regarding the increasing terrorist attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria, particularly the reprehensible abduction of women and girls, and expresses concern over the continued non-release of the Chibok school girls as well as other bombings and crimes against the populace being perpetrated in the country.

30. The Summit expresses its sympathy with the Government and people of Nigeria over the recent bombing at Emab Plaza, Abuja, and assures the Nigerian Government of its continued support and unflinching solidarity in combatting the menace of terrorism.

31. The Heads of State and Government, express their deep concerns over the growing menace of terrorism in the Member States, as well as the damning effects of piracy, human trafficking, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, abductions and other criminal acts perpetrated by non-state armed groups. They instruct the ECOWAS Commission to strengthen its multi-sectoral programmes to support the Member States in fighting these challenges, particularly in areas of training and capacity-building and information sharing.

On Mali

32. The Heads of State and Government welcome the improvement recorded in the

security situation in Northern Mali since the skirmishes of May 2014. They welcome the initiative of the Algerian Government to provide the venue for the commencement of the inter-Malian dialogue in line with the Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement.

33. The Authority expresses its unflinching solidarity with the Government of Mali and in this regard restates its readiness to continue its support to on-going peace processes, particularly the Inter-Malian Dialogue, and the activation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, in line with the Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement.

34. The Authority also reiterates its commitments to the unity and territorial integrity of Mali and restates the non-negotiable and sacrosanct sovereignty of Member States. The Authority further encourages the other parties to the dialogue to negotiate with the Malian Government in the process to be commenced in Algeria on the 16th of July 2014 in good faith and with a commitment to respect the unity, territorial integrity and secularity of the Republic of Mali.

35. The Heads of State and Government express the need for all the parties to remain committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Northern Mali. In this regard, they call on the non-state armed groups to cease all acts of hostilities, including violent attacks on Government Forces positions, MINUSMA and civilians. The Summit also reiterates its earlier calls on them to lay down their weapons, submit to cantonment, and pursue the peaceful resolution of the conflict within the framework of the inclusive national dialogue.

36. The Summit strongly condemns the various attacks on troops of MINUSMA, humanitarian workers and the Malian Defence and Security Forces by non-state armed groups, and present its condolences to countries, whose nationals have recorded fatalities in the recent attacks.

37. The Heads of State and Government welcome the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2164, which has enhanced the mandate and operational capacities of MINUSMA and established a more robust humanitarian framework for engagement in Mali. In this regard, they express the need for coherence and coordination among Partners in accompanying Mali in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis.

38. The Authority calls on the Member States to pay up their pledged financial support to AFISMA, to enable the Commission conclude the liquidation of all outstanding financial obligations of AFISMA. It also calls on the UN and the AU to make resources available from the Trust Fund in this regard, to enable the ECOWAS Commission to pay up arrears to Troops Contributing Member States.

39. The Heads of State and Government reaffirm their confidence in, and support for the mediation efforts of H.E. Blaise Compaore, President of Burkina Faso and ECOWAS Mediator in Mali, and H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Associate Mediator, in their efforts to strengthen peace and stability in Mali, and confirms ECOWAS support for the inter-Malian dialogue to commence in Algiers on 16th July 2014.

On Guinea Bissau

40. The Summit extends warm congratulations to H.E José Mário Vaz, the new President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau and pays tribute to H.E Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, former Interim President for his commitment and determination in bringing the transitional process to a successful end.

41. The Summit encourages H.E. President José Mário Vaz, and the Popular National Assembly, to prioritize an inclusive approach to governance as the surest way of forging national consensus and mobilizing all the active forces in the country towards the urgent post electoral reforms facing the nation.

42. The Heads of State and Government encourage the new government to adopt and implement a comprehensive reform agenda, encompassing national dialogue and reconciliation; economic recovery; the reform of the governance and political institutions and processes to sustain the stabilization and recovery efforts. They pledged the assistance of ECOWAS and the rest of the international community in the implementation of the reforms.

43. The Summit approves the Post-Election Reform Programme for Guinea Bissau and requests the ECOWAS Commission to liaise with the Government of Guinea Bissau for its implementation.

44. The Authority directs the ECOWAS Commission to support the Government of Guinea Bissau in the process of resource mobilization for the implementation of the reforms, including but not limited to the facilitation of an International Donors Conference.

45. Given the urgent challenges facing the new government on the social level, the Summit decides to create a Special Emergency Support Fund for Guinea Bissau and appeals to the Member States and development partners to provide their contributions for the creation of the fund

46. While welcoming the lifting of sanctions on Guinea Bissau by the African Union's Peace and Security Council's (PSC), the Heads of State and Government commend the AU for putting the country on the African Solidarity Initiative.

47. The Authority commends the Head of Mission and Special Representative of the President of the Commission in Guinea Bissau, Force Commander, officers, men and women of the ECOWAS Security Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) for their laudable efforts in assisting to ensure the security of institutions and the population, and instructs the ECOWAS Commission to take urgent steps, in close consultation with the Government of Guinea Bissau, the International Community and other partners, to review the mandate of ECOMIB after 31 December 2014.

48. The Heads of State and Government direct the ECOWAS Commission to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of the Defence and Security Sector Reform programme. To this end, they direct the Commission to expedite action in order to enhance the human, financial and logistical capacities of the Office of the Special Representative of the President of the Commission in Guinea Bissau.

49. The Authority expresses its deep appreciation to the Governments of the ECOMIB Troop and Police Contributing Countries for their commitment and sacrifices in assisting a sister nation in need and helping to maintain peace and security throughout the transition period in Guinea Bissau.

50. The Heads of State and Government express their profound gratitude to H.E Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of the Regional Contact Group on Guinea Bissau (RCG-GB), and members of the Group, and to H.E Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea and Mediator in Guinea Bissau, for their assistance to Guinea Bissau and their commitment to ensuring a successful and inclusive transition.National Early Warning and Response Mechanisms

51. The Authority of Heads of State adopts the recommendations on the establishment of National Early Warning and Response Mechanisms.

Institutional Matters

52. The Authority takes note of the swearing-in, on 19 June 2014, of seven new Commissioners, appointed by the 71st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council ofMinisters.

53. The Authority also endorses the swearing-in, on 18 June 2014, of seven new Judges for the Community Court of Justice, appointed by the 44th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government. Justice Maria Do Ceu Monteiro Silva of Guinea Bissau was elected President of the Court, Mr Justice Friday Chijoke Nwoke of Nigeria as Vice President and Mr Jérome Traoré of Burkina Faso as Dean of the Court.

54. The Authority reiterates its previous decisions on improving institutional performance and the efficient implementation of community programmes.

55. Urging all the institutions of the Community to continue their efforts in that regard, the Authority reiterates its appeal to all the Member States to take prompt action to adhere strictly to all the provisions of the Protocol on the Community Levy.

56. Welcoming the strengthening of partnerships around the ECOWAS Vision 2020, the Authority expresses its heartfelt appreciation to all partners for supporting the region to achieve its integration and peace and security consolidation goals.

On the Ebola Haemorphagic Fever

57. The Authority highlights the serious threat of the continuous spread of the

Ebola disease in the region which has so far claimed about 500 lives and condoles with the Governments and people of the affected Member States.

58. The Authority directs the Commission, in liaison with the West African Health Organization (WAHO), to adopt a regional approach towards containing and managing the Ebola outbreak. To this end, Summit directs that a solidarity fund be established. In this regard, Summit commends Nigeria's contribution of USD3,500,000 as follows: USD1,000,000 to Guinea, USD500,000 to Liberia, USD500,000 to Sierra Leone, USD500,000 to WAHO and USD1,000,000 to the ECOWAS Pool Fund for Ebola. The Summit, while accepting contribution of Nigeria appeals to other Member States as well as the International Community to contribute to the Ebola Solidarity fund.

59. The Heads of State and Government pay tribute to His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, and current Chairman of ECOWAS, for his unflinching support in deepening the regional integration process and his commitment to entrenching the culture of democracy and promoting good governance in West Africa.

60. The Heads of State and Government decide to hold their next Ordinary Session in Abuja at a date to be set after consultations.Done at Accra this 10th Day of July 2014. The Authority

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