Thursday, December 03, 2009

ECOWAS-COMESA Relations Make Progress

When the visiting ambassador from the East African Community, Julius Onen, to the ECOWAS Commission on 24 July 2007 called ECOWAS the putative "mother of all communities", some might have believed this to be a rather bombastic statement, but when I had the priviledge of interviewing--on the sidelines of a mining workshop, hosted by TWN-Africa, AU Commission, ECOWAS, and the UNECA--Professor Ndongo of the West Africa Civil Society Forum(WACSOF)and him having disclosed to me that even without Dr.Chambas as Head of ECOWAS (as he now goes off to Brussels to head the ACP Secretariat), the ECOWAS machine would still run smoothly, I got the impression that despite the numerous challenges still dogging ECOWAS, it must be getting something right.

So when I read that no less than the Secretariat of COMESA was entertaining some ECOWAS chaps over at their Secretariat, I as more than chuffed about the potential collaboration that can come out of that.

In tones reminiscent of the collaboration I have referred to many a time on this blog, it was interesting to read that the two RECS are keen to strengthen their Regional Business Councils; "Women in Business, Agricultural Development and Food Security, Trading for Peace, Customs Issues, the Common External Tariff and Free Trade Areas..." among many other areas.

The article maintains:

At the end of the visit, an Aide Memoire was signed between the two sides sealing a commitment to collaborate in areas identified during the visit to enhancing private sector development and overall regional integration. The COMESA Director for Trade, Customs and Monetary Affairs, Mr.. Francis Mangeni, signed on behalf of the COMESA Secretariat, while Mr. Alfred Braimah signed on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission.

I guess seeing more of this is a sure way of facilitating a more progressive outlook on regional integration!