PRESS RELEASE

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE

Year 2009 Selected
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N°: 064/2009
23 June 2009 [Abuja - Nigeria]

SPAIN, ECOWAS TAKE BOLD STEPS TO DEEPEN THEIR TIES

ECOWAS and Spain have taken bold steps towards strengthening their cooperation, particularly in the areas of infrastructural development, renewable energy, the war against malaria and illicit trafficking in persons, drugs and arms. According to the a communiqué issued at the end of a special ECOWAS-Spain Summit attended by Heads of State and Government of the region and the Prime Minister of Spain, the cooperation will also cover the implementation of the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP), the promotion of gender and professional training. As an expression of the new dimension of this cooperation, the Spanish government pledged at the summit to provide a total of 262 million Euros to strengthen regional integration in West Africa. A substantial part of the donation, some 240 million Euros, will be dedicated to boosting agricultural productivity to be spread over three years. The amount will help facilitate the implementation of ECOWAP, its national and regional priority programmes as well as regional efforts towards increased food production and anti-famine activities through support for regional agricultural programmes. Another 15 million Euros will go towards infrastructure development, specifically to support various ECOWAS initiatives, particularly in the provision of technical support for the PPDU and the participation of the Spanish government in the ECOWAS Fund for Infrastructure. The PPDU is a unit set up by ECOWAS to help prepare projects in the region and make them attractive for private sector participation. The capacity of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Centre will also be bolstered with seven million Euros of the amount disbursed over five years to facilitate its operationalization and enable it attract public-private sector participation. Spain also reaffirmed its commitment to support democratic consolidation in West Africa, through the strengthening of the capacities of relevant organs and institutions such as electoral commissions, the media, civil society and human rights institutions. It also pledged to support existing technical and professional training centres, and contribute to the establishment of new training centres as part of the effort to boost the capacity development of those institutions dealing with public policy. In this regard, Spain will support the promotion of professional training and youth job creation projects. More specifically, the Spanish government will assist in the elaboration and implementation of the ECOWAS Professional and Technical Education Programme (TVET), help strengthen existing training centres and set up new ones in the region. Spain also agreed to assist in ending the scourge of trafficking in persons, drugs and arms, mainly through support for the implementation of the ECOWAS Regional Plan of Action in the fight against illicit drug trafficking and organized crime in West Africa. In addition, the Government of Spain pledged to deepen its cooperation with ECOWAS in the areas of migration and development, including the implementation of the ECOWAS-Spain Migration and Development Fund, established during the 2008 Africa-European Union summit held in Lisbon. On health matters, Spain consented to collaborate with ECOWAS in the fight against the spread of HIV-AIDS and malaria, within the framework of the Strategic Plan 2009-2013 of the West African Health Organization (WAHO). Similarly, it will assist in regional and national efforts towards research and training; help promote the development of vaccines and the strengthening of a pharmaco-vigilance system, among others, in the region. The Spanish government will also contribute to the promotion of the rights of women and strengthening their economic capacities and their role in peace building in West Africa. Moreover, it will support the promotion of equity and equality of the sexes as well as encourage dialogue on gender issues. While reaffirming its commitment to explore new investment opportunities in the region, the Spanish government also pledged to help launch a Spanish- ECOWAS Entrepreneurs Forum to consolidate cultural and tourist exchanges between West Africa and Spain. At the end of the summit, ECOWAS leaders expressed satisfaction with the determination by the Government of Spain, as the next President of the European Union, to promote fruitful cooperation and dialogue between Europe and ECOWAS.


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