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General News | Mar 20, 2004

Let's accelerate process of regional integration - JAK

GNA

Accra, March 20, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Saturday advocated renewed commitment to accelerating the process of integration of West Africa.

He said the regional approach to the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) would facilitate the integration process.

President Kufuor made the call when addressing the plenary session of a day's Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Accra on "The Challenges of Integration and Development and The NEPAD Implementation in West Africa".

Mr James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, attended the Summit, which was held to review the integration process and the implementation of NEPAD in West Africa.

President Kufuor whose topic was: "Key Messages and the Way Forward," said particular attention should be paid to the three ECOWAS/NEPAD priority areas of trade, infrastructure and peace and security. He appealed to the World Bank to consider new ways of increasing and making more effective the assistance the Bank Group offered. President Kufuor, who is also the Chairman of ECOWAS, called on the Bank to consider providing additional financial resources in the form of more - technical assistance to West African States; International Development Association (IDA) regional allocation; budgetary support; project preparation and project financing.

The Bank in August 2001 adopted its Regional Integration Assistance Strategy (RIAS) for West Africa to facilitate a more organized and increased support to the deepening of regional integration in West Africa.

For the past three years, a strong partnership has been built between the World Bank and ECOWAS member States and institutions as a means for a more effective implementation of the regional integration programmes and NEPAD Initiatives.

Mr Wolfensohn welcomed the declared commitment of the West African Leadership to the regional agenda and expressed the readiness of the Bank to strengthen its partnership with West Africa. He called for a sustained and pragmatic approach to programme implementation to ensure that regional integration becomes truly operational.

The World Bank President pledged continued support to West African countries and their regional organizations and agreed to the adoption of a well-focused short-term plan of action for selected ECOWAS/NEPAD programmes.

These programmes are to be implemented by West Africa with the active support of the Bank and other development partners with periodic reviews to assess progress and compliance with the agreed plan. With the establishment of ECOWAS in 1975, all Member States committed themselves to the development of their national economies through regional integration.

The decision made in 1993 under the ECOWAS Revised Treaty by West African Leaders to deepen the integration process was reinforced in May 2002 at Yamoussoukro, Cote D'Ivoire when the ECOWAS Authority adopted a regional approach to NEPAD Implementation in West Africa. ECOWAS adopts Short-Term Plan of Action for development Accra, March 20, GNA - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government on Saturday adopted a Short-Term Plan of Action to accelerate the implementation of selected regional integration and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) programmes.

The Plan of Action covers the areas of trade, under which would be the establishment of a Customs Union by 2007 to facilitate market access for West African exports.

Others are infrastructure projects made up of road transport and facilitation; energy and telecommunications and peace and security that would ensure comprehensive approach to conflict prevention and resolution and a Peace Fund.

These were contained in communiqu=E9 issued at the end of a day's Summit on: The Challenges of Integration and Development and the NEPAD Implementation in West Africa" held in Accra.

With the establishment of ECOWAS in 1975, all Member States committed themselves to the development of their national economies through regional integration.

The decision made in 1993 under the ECOWAS Revised Treaty by West African Leaders to deepen the integration process was reinforced in May 2002 at Yamoussoukro, Cote D'Ivoire when the ECOWAS Authority adopted a regional approach to NEPAD Implementation in West Africa. Mr James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank attended the Summit. The Bank in August 2001 adopted its Regional Integration Assistance Strategy (RIAS) for West Africa to facilitate a more organized and increased support to the deepening of regional integration in West Africa.

For the past three years, a strong partnership has been built between the World Bank and ECOWAS member States and institutions as a means for a more effective implementation of the regional integration programmes and NEPAD Initiatives.

The Communiqu=E9 said the Plan of Action would also address institutional capacity building and envisages a regional mechanism for monitoring the implementation of ECOWAS/NEPAD programmes.

A joint ECOWAS/World Bank Task Force has been established for the purpose but details of their mandate and operations were not disclosed. It said the Plan of Action was based on the principle of partnership and shared responsibility first and foremost among ECOWAS and its member States but also between West Africa and the World Bank.

The Plan of Action also provides a framework for West African collaboration with its other development partners.

The Communiqu=E9 said the member States of ECOWAS renewed their commitment to the effective implementation of the provisions of the protocols on the selected priority regional programmes.

The Heads of State and Government agreed to periodic consultations between ECOWAS Leaders and the President of the World Bank.

The Bank committed itself to take all necessary measures to enhance its support of the regional agenda of West African States.

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