From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja
Ghana President and Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority Nana Akufo-Addo has expressed deep concern over the activities of Al-Qaeda and the Boko Haram sect in the Lake Chad basin.
Akufo-Addo, who was recently elected as the ECOWAS Authority chairperson at the 57th Summit of the regional body in Niamey, said the insurgents were taking advantage of the poverty situation within member states in the recruitment and indoctrination of the youths in the region.
The Ghanaian President, who spoke during a working visit to the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja yesterday, therefore, announced a $1 billion budget for the financing of activities in the sub-region’s action plan to contain terrorism.
He called for a strong regional approach to contain the growing threats of terrorist and extremist activities.
He said the growing numbers of breakaway terror groups and the spread of ethnolinguistic groups are source of concern.
He also expressed concern over the porous nature of the borders and the vulnerabilities of the ECOWAS member states.
Akufo-Addo, however, said the region had agreed to a $1 billion budget for the financing of activities in the action plan to contain terrorism.
He said: “Following the summit, a 2020 to 2024 Plan of Action was adopted by the 56th ordinary session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government in December 2019.
“To this end, $1 billion was programmed for the financing of activities in the Action Plan. We have to intensify our efforts to ensure that the plan of action is well-financed with a view to ridding our community of terrorism.”
Akufo-Addo was positive that the region was winning the fight against COVID-19, saying that the ECOWAS member states needed to achieve a further decline in active cases.
On the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, the ECOWAS Chairperson said the region stands to gain tremendously from participating in the free trade area when it comes into operation in January 2021.
He also urged the West African Monetary Agency, West African Monetary Institute and the Central Banks and Ministries of Finance to develop a new roadmap and macroeconomic convergence and stability pact for adoption by the Authority as soon as possible.