President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the West African states to stay vigilant against the COVID-19 pandemic because “the threat is still around.”
Speaking that the 61st Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Accra on Sunday, President Akufo-Addo said the bloc ought to remain alert and continue to take serious precautions to protect the people and economies of the region from the consequences of the pandemic.
He said the region could not afford another hit of the pandemic when it is presently grappling with the effects of difficult security and political situation, which have been compounded by the adverse economic impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The ECOWAS Chairman saluted the regional solidarity and the collective efforts of the region’s leaders that have led to the decrease in the number of new cases and the relaxation of restrictive measures taken at the beginning of the crisis in 2020.
“The management of this pandemic illustrates our organization's ability to unite our energies to face a significant common threat…However, we must continue to remain vigilant as COVID-19 is still around,” he said.
The Accra meeting will consider the state of the Community and deliberate on the political and security developments in the region and in the Sahel.
It will also look at the food security situation exacerbated by the Russian-Ukraine war, the progress on the region’s single currency agenda, and the obstacles to the free movement of goods and people across the region.
The meeting will appoint climate change champions, one for cultural goods and artefacts, as well elect a new Chairman and nominate a president for the ECOWAS Commission.
President Akufo-Addo whose tenure as Chairman ends at the close of the meeting rallied his counterparts to continue to implement the regional action plan against terrorism and coordinate the various security initiatives.
That, he stated, would reinforce the collective response of the region to the destabilizing threat of terrorism, saying, “Our determination in this end must be stronger than ever and equally unshaken must be our resolve to maintain the stability of our region and of its member states.”
The ECOWAS Chairman urged members to focus on agriculture to attain self-sufficiency to reduce the impact of the high food prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The meeting has since gone into a closed session.