West Africa: President Slams Nigerian Border Closure ... It's a Setback to Ecowas Integration Project

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(file photo).
29 October 2019

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described Nigeria's partial border closure with Benin as a setback to the integration project of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

According to the President, although individual nations had their national ambitions, the overall objective of regional integration should not be compromised.

The President raised the concern when an eight-member delegation of the First Bank of Nigeria (FNB) called on him at the Jubilee House in Accra yesterday.

He noted that ECOWAS, with the possibility of single currency, and the myriad of economic and security challenges, was headed for a turbulent path on the journey to integration.

"We are about to enter a delicate period in the ECOWAS journey... looking ahead of the possibility of a single currency, and trying to forge greater integration among our economies, and at the same time have important security and other issues which confront us."

"We have this business of the closure of the Benin border which seems to some people to be a big blow to the ECOWAS project.

"I believe there are other considerations that we all have to look at and examine to find a way so that we can live in this region in harmony and allow each one of us our national ambition to be fulfilled," he said.

Nigeria closed its land border with Benin on August 20, 2019, in what it said was a stop-gap measure to the smuggling of contraband goods across the Seme Border.

The move, described by many as protectionist measure, has had consequences for intra-regional trade, with many traders and business people, particularly importers of food produce taking great hits with the rot of their perishable goods at the border.

The Nigerian government has also closed the country's eastern border with Cameroun to curb the smuggling of rice to boost local production.

The Chairman of the FNB, Dr Oba Otudeko commended President Akufo-Addo for the economic and financial reforms he was undertaking.

The reforms, he added, had helped stabilised the Ghanaian economy.

He gave assurance that the FNB would continue to contribute its quota to the development of Ghana's financial sector.

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