The Federal Republic of Germany has pledged continuous support for the various programmes and projects of ECOWAS, towards attaining the integration goals of the West African region.
The pledge resounded reassuringly at the ECOWAS Commission, during the working visit of the president of Germany Mr. Joachim Gauck on the 10th of February 2016.
His visit was meant to strengthen German –ECOWAS cooperation in uniting West African people and helping the states in the region attain greater peace and stability, while reaffirming the place of democracy, human rights and good governance within the context of emerging global realities.
Driving home this point while making his grand statement at the main auditorium of the ECOWAS Commission, the august visitor Gauck said it was important to continue to strive together to enable the citizens of West Africa live in peace, security, prosperity and dignity in recognition of the fact that trans-border problems cannot be solved by one nation alone.
The experiences of the past years, he noted, have taught leaders and the led that they must defend our common values and principles again and again!
“It is only by working together that we can build a West Africa ‘house’ strong enough to withstand the storms in the future. The people in your countries are counting on you.
“Germany and Europe will continue to accompany you on your path. In the spirit of respect for your own solutions, we will stand by your side as a partner…
“Germans and Europeans will stand by your side in all areas where you assume responsibility for your countries’ development and where you demonstrate the will to uphold democracy, the rule of law and human rights,” President Gauck added.
President Gauck also spoke of the increasing realisation that despite the difficulties in Europe, the realisation has dawned that nations of the regions can play greater roles on the global scene if they act together.
This he said is one of the main reasons why Germany wants to make greater contributions when it comes to the security and stability.
Impressed by what ECOWAS has achieved over the years on the political sphere, in bringing stability and restoring democracy to a number of states, also in the establishment of community institutions, and trade harmonisation, president Gauck however harped on the need to intensify the dialogue on immigration knowing that regardless of the positive impact it can have on economies, migration to Europe would not solve Africa’s problems.
President Gauck addressed the broad spectrum audience after an initial holding room discussion that involved his close entourage where the scope of cooperation between the European giant and the regional block was highlighted while the president of the ECOWAS Commission expressed appreciation for the support continuously flowing from Berlin.
He further told the August visitor that more and more people in West Africa are resorting to seeking justice in the Community Court because they have confidence in its independence.
ECOWAS Commission president Kadre Desire Ouedraogo requested a one minute silence in honour of the February 9th train crash near Bad Aibling in the German state of Bavaria.
He listed some of the main achievements and significant progress of ECOWAS within the last forty years to include the promotion of peace, good governance and democracy, with the adoption of relevant protocols and tools on conflict prevention, management and resolution, the consolidation of regional market with the adoption of ECOWAS Common External Tariff, Free Movement of Goods and Persons as well as the abolition of visa for all ECOWAS citizen as well as the recent adoption of ECOWAS biometric card among others.
He however acknowledged that the region still face some challenges, most of them also highlighted by Mr. Gauck bordering on human security and development, migrations, climate change, health system. He stated that ECOWAS is working hard to address all these challenges for the deepening regional integration process.
In attendance at the lounge where president Gauck was presented a handcrafted souvenir, were the vice president of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, the president of the ECOWAS court of Justice, Justice Maria Do Ceu Monteiro Silva, the speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Moustapha Cisse Lo as well as the ECOWAS Commissioner for General Administration Stephen Naptey, Mrs Khadi Ramatu Saccoh (Finance), Dr. Ibrahim Bocar Ba (Microeconomic Policies) who were introduced to the German president’s close entourage led by First lady Daniela Schadt and including members of the German Parliament.
President Gauck’s coming is the second high level visit since the one of Chancellor Angela Merkel to ECOWAS in 2011.
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