A two-day meeting between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its development partners, ends in the Nigerian capital, Abuja today (Friday).
The meeting focused on major developments in the ECOWAS? regional integration process including achievements and challenges.
Communications director Sonny Ugoh, said the meeting enabled the regional bloc to review its integration program as well as its future prospects.
?Our partners contribute a significant portion of our budget,? said Ugoh. ?The meeting allows us to brief them on what we are doing in a variety of areas? to deepen the integration process, including the issues of peace and security.?
Specific issues addressed during the two-day meeting include security, electoral and humanitarian challenges, as well as implementation of sectoral policies and networking.
Key speakers at the forum included James Victor Gbeho, president of the ECOWAS commission, the resident coordinator of the United Nations, as well as the leader of the European Union delegation.
Ugoh said, despite setbacks and challenges, the sub-regional bloc is determined to ensure peace and stability across West Africa. He also said ECOWAS is helping member countries achieve food security.
?In the next five years, we are investing about $150 million and [our] partners are providing around $900 million to support us improve on agriculture,? said Ugoh. ?We are also working with the private sector to improve regional infrastructure because it is critical to supporting development,? he said.
In a related development, ECOWAS has signed two separate financial agreements with the French Development Agency (AFD) in support of the ECOWAS Water Resources Coordination Centre (ECOWAS/WRCC) and to boost food security in the region.
The agreement to boost food security is worth 10,400,000 Euros ($14,952,011), while the accord to support ECOWAS/WRCC is for 400,000 Euros ($580,000).