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Prez. Sirleaf elected new ECOWAS Chairperson

Joseph T. Koon
 Pres. Sirleaf and new ECOWAS Chairperson
Pres. Sirleaf and new ECOWAS Chairperson

MONROVIA, LIBERIA- President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been elected as Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community West African States (ECOWAS).

President Sirleaf was elected  over the weekend by her colleagues at the 49th Ordinary Session of the Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government taking place in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

According to a dispatch from Dakar, President Sirleaf’s election as Chairperson of the regional body comes amid enormous challenges facing ECOWAS, ranging from terrorism, global economic meltdown, coupled with the recent Ebola outbreak.

In her acceptance speech, the Liberian Leader attributed the progress and peace Liberia enjoys to the great sacrifices and solidarity of  member states of ECOWAS.  She praised ECOWAS Leaders for their support and cooperation in the realization of protocols of the regional body over the years.

The dispatch quotes President Sirleaf as advancing key priorities aimed at peace consolidation, security architecture, conclusion of negotiations and legal actions, the transformation of Vision 2020, among others.

She commended her Senegalese counterpart, President Macky Sall, whose extraordinary leadership guided the works of the organization in the past year.

The President paid tribute to Dr. Kadre Désiré Ouadraogo for properly steering the affairs of the Community as President of the ECOWAS Commission and congratulated his successor, Marcel Alain de Souza and team as they assume their responsibilities.

President Sirleaf said: “As we move towards the achievement of such goals, we are reminded that the Community faces both challenges and opportunities.”

“They include sharp reduction in commodity prices and the effect of epidemiological outbreaks, couple with decline in investment and growth, terrorism, drug and human trafficking, piracy and climate change,” she noted.

President Sirleaf indicated that it was important to take pride in the high potential of the ECOWAS Community for a vibrant integrated market currently estimated at the equivalent of US$1.3 trillion produced in agriculture, commerce, industry and services.

She emphasized. “Peace consolidation  and security architecture, as guided by the mechanisms and other protocols, would be prioritized to combat  terrorism and strengthen intelligence capacity in collaboration the African Union, United Nations and other partner institutions. “

President Sirleaf extended sympathy to citizens of the Community victimized by the disastrous attacks and stressed the need to ensure that there will be no expansion of terrorism in the sub-region as experienced recently in Burkina Faso, Mali and Cote D’Ivoire.

The new Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State said: “There was a need to achieve transformation of Vision 2020 through agriculture, infrastructure and trade to enhance the several ongoing regional projects in roads, energy, and railroads.”

“During my tenure, financial stability will be improved through existing protocols and mechanisms which call for financing of the Community through contributions by member states to meet the operational costs and respond to security emergencies,” President Sirleaf said.


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