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19.07.2004 Business & Finance

ECOWAS would continue to work hard - Dr Apraku

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Accra, July 19, GNA - Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Minister of Regional Cooperation and NEPAD on Monday said the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would continue to work hard towards achieving its objectives for the betterment and growth of member countries. Dr Apraku said the strong desire of ECOWAS Leaders to work gave the Community the strength it needed to operate.

"The commitment and determination of Leaders of the Sub-Region to ensure that the realisation of the ECOWAS objectives is reassuring and hopeful," he said.

A statement signed by Mr Ahmed Osumanu Halid, Media Relations Officer of the Ministry of Regional Cooperation and NEPAD, said Dr Apraku made the statement at the opening session of the 52nd ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Abuja, Nigeria.

Dr Apraku, who is also the Chairman of ECOWAS Council of Ministers, commended his colleagues for their efforts in making ECOWAS an attractive and result-oriented organisation.

He said the implementation of ECOWAS protocols such as the Liberalisation Scheme and the Community Levy among other things would bring relief to the people.

He said the Sub-Region's current "population of 250 million gives it the opportunity to integrate and carry out trade and investment with others".

On the Sub-Region having a common single currency, he gave the assurance that "it would be possible with the determination and commitment of the Leaders".

He said five countries - Ghana, the Gambia, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone - on the West African Monetary Zone were working hard to meet the four convergence criteria.

He, therefore, called on member countries to be disciplined in their financial and economic management to meet the convergence set. He said efforts demonstrated by member states to establish NEPAD focal points had gone further by giving NEPAD permanent designations and locations.

He called for the harmonisation processes between ECOWAS and UEMOA members since the benefits would be tremendous.

The Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Dr Mohammad Ibn Chambas expressed delight about the performance of the Sub-Region and commended the commitment demonstrated by leaders of the ECOWAS a stronger force. Dr Chambas appealed to member countries to implement the various ECOWAS Protocols since the benefits in doing so would accelerate and improve the lives of their people.

Ghana's delegation to the 52nd ECOWAS Council of Ministers Session included Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports; Mr Poku Kyei, a Special Assistant to the Minister of Finance and Mr Kwasi Asante, an Economic Officer at the Ministry of Regional Cooperation and NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development).

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