FIFTY – NINTH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AUTHORITY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT 19 June 2021, Accra, Republic of Ghana
1. The Fifty-ninth Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was held on 19 June 2021 in Accra, Republic of Ghana, under the chairmanship of H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, and Chair of the Authority.
2. The following Heads of State or their duly mandated representatives participated in the Summit: H.E. Patrice Talon, President of the Republic of Benin; H.E. Roch Marc Christian Kabore, President of Burkina Faso; H.E. Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca, President of the Republic of Cabo Verde; H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Cote d’lvoire; H.E. Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia; H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana;
H.E. Prof. Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea; H.E. Umaro Sissoco Embalo, President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau; H.E. Georges Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia; H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; H.E. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone; H.E. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, President of the Togolese Republic; H.E. Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, Prime Minister and Head of Government of the Republic of Niger; H.E. Madam Aissata Tall Sall, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad of the Republic of Senegal.
3. The session was also attended by:
H.E. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of ECOWAS Commission;
H.E. Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF);
H.E. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank; H.E. Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa, and the Sahel (UNOWAS); H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and ECOWAS Mediator for Mali.
4. At the opening ceremony, a welcome statement was delivered by H.E. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of ECOWAS Commission; and thereafter, H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government delivered the opening address.
5. Goodwill messages were also delivered by H.E. Louise MUSHIKIWABO,
Secretary General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, by H.E. Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), and by H.E. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.
6. The Heads of State and Government took note of the 2021 Interim Report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, as well as the Reports of the 46th Ordinary Meeting of ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council and the 86th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers.
7. They commended the quality of the reports and the relevant recommendations contained therein.
8. Reaffirming their commitment to deepening the integration process in West Africa, the Heads of State and Government, after deliberations, endorsed the main recommendations contained in the different reports, and then considered the following specific issues:
A. COVID-19 SITUATION
9. The Authority took note of the Covid-19 situation in the region which reveals a stabilization of the situation resulting from efforts deployed by Member States and WAHO.
10. It took note of the vaccination in all Member Countries with vaccines provided by COVAX initiative and salute the recent decision of the G7 to provide additional vaccine to developing countries.
11. The Authority encourages the West Africa Health Organization to intensify its efforts regarding the mobilisation of partnership for the production of Anti-COVID Vaccines in the region and note the need to introduce biometric passport in the Region.
12. The Authority charges the President of The Commission to work with the Member States and WAHO on the modalities to accelerate the re-opening of land borders in a safe manner during the pandemic in line with the agreed ECOWAS Harmonised Guidelines for Free Movement of People and Goods during pandemics.
B. ON PEACE, SECURITY AND DEMOCRACY
13. The Authority reaffirms its commitment to the promotion of peace, security, and stability in the region as prerequisites for the economic integration and development of the region.
14. On the political situation in the region, the Authority reiterates its concerns over the crisis in Mali in the context of security challenges related to terrorist attacks and the Covid-19 Pandemic with its dire socio-economic impacts. The Authority welcomes the Report submitted by H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali, sequel to his mission to Mali from 8th to 9th June 2021 to engage stakeholders on the decisions taken by ECOWAS Authority during its Extraordinary Summit held on 30th May 2021 in Accra, Ghana.
15. The Authority takes note of the appointment of a civilian Prime Minister and the formation of a new Government.
16. It also takes note of the commitment of the Transition Authorities to respect the electoral timetable which includes the organisation of a Presidential Election in February 2022.
17. The Authority was also informed of the Monitoring Mechanism that will be put in place to ensure that the electoral timetable unveiled on 15th April 2021 are strictly adhered to. It instructs the President of the Commission to ensure effective functioning of the Mechanism and implementation of the measures contained therein.
18. The Authority noted the positive development in Mali and decides to remain seized of the political situation in Mali.
19. On electoral processes in the region, the Authority welcomes the successful conduct of presidential elections in Benin and Niger as well as the legislative elections in Cabo Verde and Cote d’Ivoire. The Authority extends its warmest congratulations to Their Excellencies Patrice Talon, President of the Republic of Benin, for his re-election to the highest public office of his country and Mohamed Bazoum for his election as President of the Republic of Niger and wishes them every success.
20. The Authority directs the President of the Commission to provide the necessary support to the Governments of Cabo Verde and the Gambia during the upcoming presidential elections.
21. On preventive diplomacy, the Authority welcomes the re-constitution and repositioning of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise to effectively support the ECOWAS Preventive Diplomacy and Mediation efforts in Member States. The Authority endorses the list of the Members of the Council of the Wise and takes note of the election of H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan from Nigeria and Mrs. Saran Daraba from Guinea as Chair and Vice-Chairperson of the Council of the Wise. It directs the President of the Commission to provide the Council with the necessary support, including technical and administrative backstopping, to effectively execute their mandate.
22. On the security situation in the region, the Authority remains concerned with the security situation in the Region. The Authority reaffirms its determination to relentlessly combat the scourge of terrorism, and strongly condemns the recurrence of terrorist attacks in frontline countries, namely Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria. It expresses solidarity with the affected Member States and populations.
23. The Authority reiterates its urgent appeals to Member States to expedite payment of their voluntary contributions to the Fund dedicated for the implementation of the 2020 – 2024 Action Plan for the eradication of terrorism in the Region. It directs the ECOWAS Commission to strengthen resource mobilization efforts, including taking advantage of the appointments by the Authority of H. E. Mahamadou Issoufou, former President of the Republic of Niger and H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana as champions of the resource mobilization for the Plan of Action.
24. The Authority expresses concern over the destabilising effect of the operations of mercenary groups from Libya and calls for a concerted international action aiming at urgently resolving this issue, involving the disarmament of the mercenary groups.
25. The Authority expresses the need to enhance the optimization of synergies among the various security, defence, and intelligence agencies across ECOWAS region in order to facilitate swift and appropriate responses to existing and emerging threats. To this effect, the Authority endorses the establishment of a permanent Forum of West African National Security Advisers and directs the President of the Commission to ensure effective functioning and proper coordination and complementarity with the existing ECOWAS defence and security committees.
26. On maritime safety and security, the Authority reiterates its call on Member States to fully implement the measures adopted at national, regional, and continental levels to ensure maritime security and safety in the Gulf of Guinea. It directs the President of the Commission to take appropriate measures, in consultation with Member States, to fully operationalize the ECOWAS Maritime Security Architecture.
27. On the ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG), the Authority directs to review the mandate and structure of ECOMIG to secure the upcoming December 2021 presidential elections and reaffirms its decision to modify the structure of ECOMIG after the Presidential election.
28. On the humanitarian situation, the Authority expressed concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in the region as a result of the terrorist attacks and effects of climate change. In that regard, the Authority reaffirms the need to strengthen ECOWAS humanitarian interventions and coordination with relevant humanitarian actors.
C. ON ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE AND IMPLEMENTATION OF REGIONAL INTEGRATION PROGRAMMES
29. After a negative growth of 0.8% in 2020 linked to the negative effects of COVID-19, the Conference welcomes the recovery announced in 2021 with a projected GDP increase of 3.5% in 2021. It urges the Member States to accelerate the implementation of economic stimulus programs and projects to support the ongoing recovery.
30. Authority notes the need to implement sizeable financing plans for the economies of the Region to support recovery. In this regard, it welcomes the various initiatives underway, particularly the Paris Summit for the Financing of African Economies, as well as the G20 initiatives relating to the restructuring of the debts of developing countries. It calls for the speedy implementation of these initiatives.
31. The Authority commends the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) for launching a facility to support African countries, including member countries of the ECOWAS region, to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also for its support to the G5 Sahel countries aiming at strengthening national health systems. It also commends the Bank for its support of $22 million to the West Africa Health Organization (WAH0).
32. The Authority takes note of the proposal of the AfDB to develop an African Financial Stability Mechanism to protect the continent against external and internal shocks, as well as a Security-Indexed Investment Bonds to leverage resources on the global capital markets to reinforce security in the ECOWAS region. Therefore, it calls on the AfDB to work with the ECOWAS Commission to develop the Investment Bonds.
33. Furthermore, the Authority calls on the AfDB to support quality health care infrastructure and develop pharmaceutical industries in ECOWAS countries, including the manufacture of vaccines.
D. CREATION OF A MONETARY UNION
34. The Authority commends the Ministerial Committee on the Single Currency Programme for its diligence in implementing the decisions taken at its 58th Ordinary Session held by video conference on 23rd January 2021. It decides:
a. to adopt the Convergence and Macroeconomic Stability Pact between ECOWAS Member States, whose convergence phase covers the period from 2022 to 2026 and the stability phase from 1st January 2027; and
b. Takes note of the roadmap for the launch of ECO by 2027 and charges the Ministerial Committee to continue to work to resolve all outstanding issues.
E. AFRICAN CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA (AFCFTA)
35. The Authority took note of the progress in the ratification of the Agreement and urged remaining Member States to accelerate the ratification process of the AFCFTA. Furthermore, it directs the ECOWAS Commission to continue to coordinate common positions for the negotiations in order to ensure it builds on the acquis of ECOWAS.
F. BORDER ISSUES
36. The Authority congratulates the Republics of Guinea and Sierra Leone for the reopening of their land borders. The Authority further commends the spirit of solidarity and dialogue that led, at the Summit, to the signing of the Military and Technical Cooperation Agreement between the Republics of Senegal and Guinea paving the way for the imminent reopening of their borders. It encourages the Republics of Guinea and Guinea Bissau to work in order to achieve the reopening of their borders. ECOWAS will stand by these countries to accompany them in this endeavour.
G. INSTITUTIONAL MATTERS
37. In compliance with the Decisions taken by the Authority of Heads of State and Government during its Extraordinary Session held on 2nd February 2021, on Institutional reforms, H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Chair of the Authority, submitted his report on reflections on the optimal structure and size of the new Commission and the other Institutions, and efforts to further streamline ECOWAS operating costs. The Authority commended H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the quality of the report, and for the efforts deployed towards achieving a consensual outcome.
38. The Authority reiterated its commitment to the objectives of improved performance and operational efficiency of ECOWAS Institutions, to promote the implementation of integration programmes geared towards the economic and social development of the region.
39. To this end, the Authority adopts a 7-Member Commission as the new size of the Commission beginning March 2022. Authority mandates H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, to continue his efforts relating to the allocation of statutory positions and streamlining operational costs in ECOWAS Institutions.
H. ON THE PROPOSED MECHANISM OF ROTATION OF ECOWAS MEMBER STATES’ CANDIDATURES TO THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE AFRICAN UNION
40. The Authority took note of the report on a Mechanism to ensure predictability, transparence, and fairness in the rotation process within ECOWAS Member States for the occupation of the position of Chairperson of the Assembly of the African Union when the turn of ECOWAS arises.
41. The Authority endorses the criteria set up in the Report and the subsequent rotation proposed within ECOWAS Member States for the chairmanship position of the African Union.
I. OTHER MATTERS
42. The Conference was informed of the declaration by World Health Organisation of the end of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea. It congratulates the Government and the people of Guinea for their strong commitment in fighting the epidemics with the assistance of WAHO.
43. The Authority pays glowing tribute to H.E. Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca, President of the Republic of Cabo Verde, who is attending the Summit for the last time as Head of State, for his strong belief and efforts to promote economic integration, as well as to consolidate democracy, and regional peace and security. It commends the initiatives he led during his two terms as President of the Republic of Cabo Verde which contributed to the economic and social development, as well as to the peaceful opening up of his country, particularly through the development of required infrastructure.
J. ELECTION OF THE NEW CHAIRMAN OF THE AUTHORITY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
44. The Heads of State and Government appointed H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana as Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government for another one (1) year term.
K. DATE AND VENUE OF NEXT SUMMIT
45. The Heads of State and Government decide to hold the next Ordinary Session in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria on Saturday 18 December 2021.
46. The Heads of State and Government express sincere appreciation to H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for his leadership in steering the affairs of the Community.
Done, this 19th Day of June 2021.
See PDF copy of statement below: