Some Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will converge on Accra for their 59th Ordinary Session today.
The regional meeting, chaired by Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will consider the outcome of the 86th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the ECOWAS which was held from last Thursday at the Movenpick Hotel in Accra.
Some of the leaders who have confirmed their arrival are President George Manneh Weah of Liberia, President Adama Barrow of The Gambia, President Patrice Guillaume Athanase Talon of Benin, President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea-Bissau, President Alpha Conde of Guinea and President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso.
During the two-day ministerial meeting, the council considered a memorandum on the post-COVID-19 Industry Recovery Plan, the 2021 mid-term report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the ongoing Institutional Reforms at ECOWAS, among others.
The report of the meeting will be submitted to the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government at today’s Ordinary Session for their consideration and action.
It is expected that aside from Mali which will not be attending because it has been suspended from the regional bloc, other 13 heads of state and government will be represented.
Mediation and Security Council
Prior to the ministerial meeting, the 46th ordinary meeting of the Mediation and Security Council of ECOWAS also took place in Accra.
The meeting, which was held at the ministerial level, was the first of the mid-year statutory meetings of ECOWAS.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, who opened the meeting, said the social and economic crisis in Mali was among issues to be discussed.
Ms Botchwey, who is also the Chair of the Mediation and Security Council, said the implementation of decisions taken at the extraordinary summit in Accra on May 30, this year would be critical to bringing stability to Mali and West Africa.
Members of the council were updated on the implementation of a national early warning centre which was scheduled to be based in Accra and the humanitarian situation in the region.
“Our meeting is tasked to deliberate on critical issues such as the political and security situation in our region, with the objective of making recommendations for the consideration of the Authority of Heads of State and Government,” she said.
Ms Botchwey said the meeting was taking place against the backdrop of converging potentially existential threats to the peace and development of West Africa, which she said could undermine regional integration efforts.
For instance, she said, attacks by terrorists and extremist groups were worsening and cascading across the region, leaving no country out as a potential target.
The COVID-19 pandemic, she explained, had also added a new layer of complexity to the already fragile situation in the region and was threatening social cohesion, the welfare of citizens and economic recovery.
At an extraordinary meeting in Accra recently, the regional bloc suspended Mali in response to a coup by the military junta. It rather stopped short of imposing new sanctions.
Due to the arrival of leaders and representatives of various countries, most roads leading to and from the airport would be closed to traffic.
The police have made alternative arrangements for motorists to use other routes.