News / Africa

    West African Leaders Discuss Trade Agreement with European Union

    Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara is ECOWAS chairman and host of two-day summit.
    Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara is ECOWAS chairman and host of two-day summit.
    Peter Clottey
    West African heads of state and government are meeting for a two-day summit beginning Friday in Ivory Coast to resolve issues regarding a decade of trade discussions with the European Union (EU).

    Officials of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) say the leaders will discuss an economic partnership agreement with EU and a number of other issues such as review regional security and the upcoming elections in Guinea Bissau.

    ECOWAS communications director Sonny Ugoh said West African leaders will seek to address concerns about the free trade agreement with the EU.

    How to create equality in European trade

    “They will be discussing the economic partnership agreement they have been discussing with the EU to create a free trade area for both regions that have been going for 10-12 years.

    "They will also be discussing the issue of maritime security,” said Ugoh.

    Some West Africans are expressing concerns about the economic partnership agreement with the EU. Skeptics say it will be to the region’s disadvantage and unlikely to improve the lives of citizens.They argue it is unfair because West African states will be exporting inexpensive raw materials and will still have to import expensive goods and services from Europe.

    “Understandably - because the discussions have been protracted - there have been a variety of perspectives. But, I can assure you that negotiations that are going on are on the basis of the assessment of what is best for member states, because member states are active in the process,” said Ugoh.

    “Whatever decision that will come out of the summit, you can be sure that it will be to the best interest of the region, and member states,” he said.

    A new chairman, Guinea's national elections

    Ugoh said high on the agenda is the need to select new ECOWAS leadership. The term of the current chairman, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, expires this year.

    “They will be electing a new chairman to replace President Ouattara who will be handing over after a very fruitful and illustrious and successful leadership of the community,” he said.

    Ugoh says the leaders will also focus on Guinea Bissau’s elections scheduled for next month.  ECOWAS member states raised about $20 million dollars to help the country administer its poll.

    “As part of the security review in the region, and for the elections in Guinea Bissau, they will also discuss to see how that [election] will go on,” said Ugoh.

    “Member states pledged funds to support Guinea Bissau to make sure that they have an election that is transparent that is free and fair that meets that standards for our democratic governance and that will enable Guinea Bissau to turn a new leaf.”

    West Africa's drug trafficking troubles

    The U.S. and EU have long charged that West African states are being used as transit points to traffic drugs from South America to Europe and beyond. Ugoh says regional leaders are working with their counterparts in West Africa to combat the menace.

    “Member states have been working to see how they can resolve it both bilaterally and with foreign partners,” said Ugoh. “We have a plan of action under which we…address the key issues that turned West Africa at one point into a transit zone for drugs.”
    Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS' Communications director
    Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS' Communications directori
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora