By Idara Ukpanyang FRCN Abuja
The Vice President of Economic Community of West African (ECOWAS) Commission, Finda Koroma has said that in the course of 2021, the West Africa region has taken a great leap in all development indices, insisting that countries in the region are now borderless than in the past.
Speaking during the meeting of ECOWAS Administrative and Finance Committee (AFC) in Abuja, Koroma said the region has recorded improvements in key areas such as agriculture, environmental protection, climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as infrastructural development.
Other areas of improvement include promotion of education and cultural exchange, youth development and the advancement of gender equality.
According to her, the health sector was also part of the success story.
“We have also witnessed significant improvements in our health sector and have leveraged on our coordination role to facilitate the availability of health solutions for our people, especially on COVID-19 management.”
Koroma noted that although there were challenges, the institution was able to live across board. “There have been many highs and some lows which have all come together to enhance the resilience of our people and ECOWAS institutions.
She said ECOWAS States were becoming closer and more borderless, as well as close to adopting the ECOWAS Vision 2050, that will guide its growth in the next 30 years
She noted that the private sector is becoming more engaged and is receiving significant support in advancing economic development and integration for the region, especially in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This includes support to ICT start-ups. Special initiatives such as the Regional Stabilisation and Development Fund and the Integrated Human Capital Development Strategy have advanced significantly in achieving their respective objectives.”
The Commissioner of Finance, ECOWAS Commission, Mrs Halima Ahmed said the budget presentation being the last for the present administration was aimed at a seamless transition to support the take- off of a new Management come 1st March 2022.
The Chair of the Administration and Finance Committee of ECOWAS Commission, Mohammed Ismaila stressed that information, so far, on the 2021 Budget implementation was indicative of the indispensability of the Community Levy as the largest source of revenue for ECOWAS, accounting for 71% of the approved Income for 2021.
He therefore pleaded with all Member States to continue to honour their financial obligations to the Community through their prompt contributions to the community levy.