BusinessDay

ECOWAS deepens investment to drive West Africa’s food security in 4yrs

The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), on Monday, said it will in the next four years deepen investment in food security to reduce dependence on imports in the West African region and attain food sufficiency.

Omar Touray, president of the ECOWAS Commission made this known during the opening of the 32nd Meeting of the ECOWAS Administrative and Finance Committee (AFC) in Abuja.

The president, while noting that the Russia-Ukraine war has exposed some gaps in the region, said the Commission has also set a target to further increase the stock of the Regional Food Security Reserve and implement its Rice Offensive Action Plan (2020-2025).

Touray, while decrying that floods have now become a perinea issue in the region, stated that the ECOWAS will support programmes for victims of human and man-made disasters; and will also develop the Emergency Response capacity, involving the pooling of member state’s resources and capabilities based on regional solidarity.

identified four (4) strategic objectives that would be our focus for the next four years, which we called the 4 by 4 (4x). These four (4) objectives are: 1. Enhanced Peace and Security 2. Deeper Regional Integration 3. Good Governance 4. Inclusive and Sustainable Development.

“Our four strategic objectives are already aligned with the Community Strategic Framework (CSF), which has been developed for the realisation of the ECOWAS Vision 2050.

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“Under the first strategic objective on Enhanced Peace and Security, we intend to focus on strengthening the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture, and achieving specific results relating to: the implementation of the ECOWAS Action Plan against Terrorism; the full operationalisation of the ECOWAS Maritime Security Architecture,” he said.

“Our second strategic objective is to Deepen Regional Integration through the promotion and enhancement of intra-Community trade; free movement of people, and the monetary union. On the third strategic objective, which is Good Governance, we intend to focus on building stronger regimes against anti-constitutional changes of government in the region and supporting member states to deepen democracy.

The fourth strategic objective is inclusive and sustainable development, which covers gender and social programmes, infrastructure, and environment,” the president further said.

The president further informed that the Commission has prepared a three-year budget tagged a budget of “Consolidation of Reforms”, and prepared to ensure the consolidation of the gains made in the institutional reform process and support the recovery of our region from the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia War.

” It is also designed to set the agenda for the next four years, which is aimed at putting the region back on track for integration and development,” he said.

Also speaking, the Nazifi Darma, commissioner, Internal Services, reiterated that the commission exists to improve the quality of lives of 380 million citizens.

He said, “They have multi oriented developmental aspirations, and as a foremost development intervention agency in West Africa, the expectation on us to deliver is extremely high. The common objective that should define what we do is improving the quality of lives of the citizens of west Africa.”

He noted that the implementation of the targets listed by the ECOWAS president will require resources; he, therefore, urged members to define how the resources will be spent.

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