In continuation of its efforts to ensure development across the West African region, the ECOWAS Commission has signed five Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) relating to various development projects with a Chinese conglomerate. The signing ceremony between the ECOWAS Commission and the CGC Overseas Construction Group (CGCOC) was conducted in Abuja, Nigeria, at the new headquarters building of CGC Nigeria Ltd, on Wednesday, January, 20th.
The ECOWAS delegation to the ceremony was led by the President of the Commission, Mr. Desire Kadre Ouedraogo, who was accompanied by Commissioner for General Administration, Mr. Stephen Nartey, and Commissioner for Energy and Mines, Dr. Morlaye Bongoura as well as other top officials of the regional body. He was received on behalf of the CGCOC, by the Deputy Chairman of the conglomerate Mr. Li Xuhui and other top management staff of the construction giant. The two leaders described the signing of the MoUs as a significant step in cementing the long mutual relationship between China and the people of West Africa.
The five MoUs are those covering, including; the Trans-West African Railway, and the Trans-West African Coastal Highway. Others are on the West African Telecommunication Infrastructure Facilities, and the West African Regional Aviation Field as well as that of Construction of New ECOWAS Headquarters and related facilities in Abuja, Nigeria.
The ECOWAS Commission President commended CGCOC for its role in ensuring a high impact intervention by the Government of the Peoples’ Republic of China in the lives of millions of citizens of the West African region. He recalled the excellent arrangement made by CGCOC during ECOWAS delegation’s visit to the Chinese Government and expressed his sincere appreciation to Chinese leaders of China under President Xi Jinping and the Chairman of CGCOC, Mr. Ji Weming.
Mr. Ouedraogo also congratulated CGCOC on the commissioning of the new Headquarters of CGC Nigeria Limited in Abuja. This he said is a clear evidence of the confidence reposed in the region by the Chinese people, its companies and Government. He then urged the CGCOC to continue to utilize its expertise and experience in working with ECOWAS to stimulate growth and development in the region.
The President also acknowledged and appreciated the assistance of the Chinese Government by providing equipment to the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF). This he reiterated is a clear demonstration of the importance of the region to China and in line with President Xi’s commitment towards assisting the region. He noted that credit must be given to CGCOC for the facilitative role it plays, in ensuring a cordial relationship between China and West Africa.
In his remarks, the Deputy Chairman of CGCOC, Mr. Li Xuhui who signed the MoUs on behalf of the Chairman and Chief Executive of the corporation, said the signing of the MoUs are just the beginning of long and fruitful relationship between ECOWAS and China. He said following the visit of ECOWAS delegation to China, a high level report was compiled and presented by CGCOC to the President of China and the Chinese Foreign Ministry as well as other important Government establishments, on how best to partner with West Africa for growth and development.
Mr. Xuhui added that CGCOC is the platform and the bridge for ECOWAS/China cooperation. He said the corporation is ready and willing to cooperate and intervene on behalf of ECOWAS, which was why it facilitated the visit of ECOWAS President and his delegation, which elicited higher interest in the ECOWAS region by the Government and people of China.
It would be recalled that the President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Kadre Desire Ouedraogo led a high level delegation to China in 2015, as part of ECOWAS developmental drive with the aim of building strong partnership with the international community.
Highlights of the signing ceremony includes a tour of the newly commissioned CGC Nigeria Headquarters, screening of a short documentary on the efforts of the Chinese company in stimulating growth and development in Africa as well as working launch for the delegation.