ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions should streamline their support for the return of
democracy and constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau to pave way for the
country’s economic development, a meeting by officials of the two institutions
has recommended after their just-ended two-day meeting at the ECOWAS
headquarters in Abuja.
The Abuja consultation on 13th and 14th August 2013, coordinated by the
Multilateral Surveillance Directorate of the ECOWAS Commission, and which
followed the recommendation last June in Ouagadougou, by the Joint Technical
Secretariat (JTS) of the two Commissions, discussed arrangements for a common
support programme with greater efficiency in Guinea-Bissau.
To fast track the programme, the participants recommended that a technical
committee be set up to produce a joint document by the end of October for
submission to the JTS next meeting in November 2013. The document should outline
activities of the joint programme and the roadmap for their implementation.
The five priority areas identified for the joint programme are peace and
security; energy; public finance management; social infrastructure (education,
health), and control of drug trafficking.
The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government at their 42nd Ordinary
Session in Yamoussoukro last February extended the political transition in
Guinea Bissau to 31st December 2013, with presidential election scheduled for
24th November 2013.
Partners are expected to mobilize resources to bridge the financial gap of about
US$7 million in the electoral budget, and prepare for the second phase of the
transition after the presidential election in that country, following the 2012
military could in the country.
The Abuja meeting noted the significant improvement in security in the country
due mainly to the operations of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB),
and recommended that the two Commissions support the country in addressing its
defence and security, as well as socio-economic challenges.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the meeting, the acting Director of the
ECOWAS Multilateral Surveillance directorate, Mr. Nelson Magbagbeola, thanked
the participants for their rich contributions. He also commended the UEMOA
delegation led by the Commission’s Director of Multilateral Surveillance Mr.
Eloge Houessou, who in turn praised the spirit of cooperation between the two
For his part, the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS
Commission in Guinea Bissau, Ambassador Ansumane Ceesay, expressed his
satisfaction with the process leading up to the joint intervention programme by
“Concerted efforts should be made to preserve peace and security to pave way for
development activities in Guinea Bissau,” he said, adding that “there can be no
development without peace and security."