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Single currency, Covid-19, security, top agenda as ECOWAS Leaders meet

President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders of the Economic Community of West African States, will tomorrow (Monday ) , head for Niamey, Niger Republic to participate in the Fifty-Seventh Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, to consider reports on several issues, including those on the ECOWAS Single Currency.

The Summit is expected to receive the Report on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme to be presented by President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone and Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), and President Alassane Ouattara, who is Chair of the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU/UEMOA).

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had agreed to embrace the ECO as its single currency for the 15 countries within the community, with a deadline set for 2020.

A hasty launch of the “eco” by the francophone members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, may have caused a division with the other anglophone countries in the 15 ECOWAS Countries who want to adopt the new currency, but at a slower timetable

The summit will attempt to resolve the disputes and find a pathway around the ECOWAS single currency crises.

The one-day summit will also deliberate on the Special Report on COVID-19 to be presented by President Buhari who was appointed the ECOWAS Champion on the Fight against COVID-19 during the Extraordinary Virtual Summit of ECOWAS on April 23, 2020.

As a Champion, the Nigerian leader was expected to coordinate the sub-regional response against the pandemic. In furtherance of that objective, under the supervision of the Champion, Nigerian Ministers of Health, Aviation and Finance were appointed Chairpersons of the Ministerial Coordination Committees on Health; Transport, Logistics and Trade; and Finance respectively.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean Claude Kassi Brou will present to the West African leaders, the 2020 Interim Report on activities of the sub-regional body including ECOWAS Vision 2050.
The alarming rise in incidents of terrorism, insurgency, armed banditry and piracy will also come under focus, while the disruption of the democratic process by the military in Mali, will receive further attention.

Similarly, in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Niger where parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled for this year, the imperative to strengthen democracy in the sub-region by respecting constitutional provisions, rule of law and outcomes of free and fair polls, will be emphasised.

President Buhari, who will be accompanied to the Summit by ministers and other top government officials, will return to Abuja after the meeting.

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