The presidents of the eight-member of West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) have adopted a joint peace and security policy to deal with common challenges in the region.
The policy deal was adopted at the 17th summit held in the Senegalese capital Dakar.
The presidents signed an additional act instituting a joint policy of peace and security.
“The presidents have instructed the relevant organs and institutions to make the regional peace and security framework operational for the sake of peace of people within the union,’’ the final communique said.
Instability has hit most of the UEMOA members in recent years, with Mali, Guinea Bissau and Niger coming through coups, Cote d’Ivoire a post-election conflict and Togo and Senegal election- related violence.
In Mali, Al-Qaida’s North African branch AQIM and other rebel groups occupied the desert north in the aftermath of the coup on March 22, 2012, before driven out in January 2013.
On the economic front, UEMOA countries hailed the proposals formulated to mobilise resources to fund activities in the union. “Given the huge demand for infrastructure funding, the presidents also asked the union’s institutions to maintain a debt ceiling, while ensuring the debt is sustainable,’’ the statement added.
The UEMOA leaders expressed their willingness to reinforce the union’s economic performance, under the regional Vision 2020 economic blueprint.
They also agreed to set up a regional civil aviation safety agency and establish a cultural development institution of the bloc.
At the summit, Beninese President Boni Yayi was elected as the chairman of the union to replace his Togolese counterpart Faure Gnassingbe.