Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has revered countries in the West African region for political and economic progress which he describes as an envy of the international community.
Buhari was speaking on Saturday at the opening of the three-day 50th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Abuja.
“We have every right to feel proud of these achievements which have moved us to the realization of the objectives for which ECOWAS was established, namely the promotion of peace, security and economic integration,” he said.
We have every right to feel proud of these achievements which have moved us to the realization of the objectives for which ECOWAS was established, namely the promotion of peace, security and economic integration.
Among the achievements he cited were economic progress, peace and security, and management of conflict.
“We have substantially enhanced our capacity for dealing with conflict as amply demonstrated in the quick intervention of the Community to douse tension and restore peace in Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Burkina Faso,” Buhari said with reference to the fight against Boko Haram by the Multi-National Joint Task Force.
He advised the community to pay attention to conflict prevention measures in the region and to devote more resources to Early Warning Mechanisms in order to develop an effective Conflict Prevention Strategy.
President Buhari mentioned some economic achievements including trade liberalization in the form of the Common External Tariff (CET), and adoption of a single biometric identity card to lead to a single monetary zone and common currency.
“Our modest achievements in regional integration are being challenged by globalization. Today, most of our countries continue to record low volume of trade, occasioned by declining level of economic activities, caused by the sharp fall in commodity prices,” he observed, and advised that respective countries diversify their economies from commodities to infrastructure.
Buhari also called for a regional framework to reduce the impact of climate change.