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24.03.2004 General News

ECOWAS Summit was a success -Apraku

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Accra, March 24, GNA- Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Minister for Regional Co-operation and NEPAD on Wednesday described the recent ECOWAS Summit held in Accra as a big success.

Speaking at a press conference on the outcome of the meeting, the Minister said the summit succeeded in reducing the implementation of NEPAD from a vision founded on ideals to concrete projects that would influence positively the growth and prosperity of the sub-region.

"The Summit has provided a catalyst for the implementation of regional integration and NEPAD programmes, and we intend to sustain the momentum," he said.

The meeting that took place between March 19 and 20 brought together nine Presidents of the 15-member ECOWAS countries, representatives of other Heads of State and Government in dialogue with the President of the World Bank, Mr James Wolfensohn.

Dr Apraku said aside the 4.5-billion-dollar support that the World Bank was providing the sub-region; it would in addition, assist in the construction of the West Africa Power Pool, and the West Africa Gas Pipeline as well as facilitate the Inter-State Road Transit facilitation.

The World Bank would also foster the full implementation of a Free Trade Area in the sub-region by January 2005 through the provision of funds to compensate countries that may lose revenue until the Community Levy set up by ECOWAS for such a purpose became fully operational.

Dr Apraku announced that the Bank had also agreed to the financing of the Abidjan-Lagos road to bring it to standard to boost intra-regional trade as well as fund ancillary activities such as publicity campaigns, construction of new joint border posts, simplification of procedures and enforcement, which were necessary to foster the free movement of people, goods and services.