ECOWAS President urges member states, Mauritania to boost regional trade

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ABUJA – The President of ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Quedraogo, has called on Member States and Mauritania to sign the ECOWAS – Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to trade in the region.

Quedraogo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja that improvement in regional trade would ensure development and integration.

“We believe that the primary goal and interest in our region in this agreement is to promote our regional integration.

“We have struggled hard to have a common trade regime in our region, if we did not have negotiated this agreement collectively, we would have separate trade regimes in our region.

“This could have destroyed our objective of customs union and integration of our regional market, so I say yes, we will be gaining in strengthening our regional integration in West Africa.’’

Quedraogo said that ECOWAS had also made a lot of progress in the implementation of the single currency, introduction of biometric identity card as well as the implementation of ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET).

He said the establishment of Regional Competition Authority (CRA), formulation of ECOWAS Trade Development Strategy, which was in progress with International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/WTO), were geared towards promoting regional trade.
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The ECOWAS president said that the Commission had also participated actively in the successful conduct of the elections held in Nigeria and Togo.

Quedraogo also said that the commission would commence to Cote d’ Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Guinea, to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in those countries.

According to him, the commission has done much on security in the region, but recurrent attacks in Nigeria and Mali as well as insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea have become a challenge.

“One of our major achievements is maintaining , stability and security in our region; without peace and stability, there is no way you can develop a region.

“ECOWAS has done a lot in the management of crises in our region and ensuring the entrenchment of democratic process in our region, that is a great achievement.’’

He stated that the commission was making progress in containing Ebola in the region as there were signs of return of socio-economic activities in the affected member states.

“ECOWAS is providing support to the Ebola affected countries to ensure economic recovery and also working to lift travel restrictions to the countries,’’ Quedraogo said. (NAN)

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