On Monday, September 7, the Ministry of Information through its Official Twitter handle announced the election of His Excellency Nana Akufo Addo as the new ECOWAS Chair.
The report read: “#Breaking President @NAkufoAddo has just been elected as the new Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), at the ongoing 57th ECOWAS Summit, which is being held in Niamey, capital of Niger.”
Akufo-Addo, the new ECOWAS chair, will take over the one-year rotational role from Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou who was elected at the 55th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS leaders on June 29, 2019. Based on the issues on the discussion at the meeting, President Akuffo Addo will have the following topical issues to address in his tenure of office as the head of ECOWAS.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
It is without question that the novel coronavirus has affected the West African Sub-region in unprecedented ways. From the closure of schools to working from home for most workers. Border closures have also impacted negatively on trade, tourism, and airline operators. As chair of ECOWAS, Akuffo-Addo will lead the charge in the continuous fight against the virus and the economic recovery effort in the sub-region.
It is noteworthy that, Nigeria’s President, President Buhari who was appointed the ECOWAS Champion on the Fight against COVID-19 during the Extraordinary Virtual Summit of ECOWAS on April 23, 2020, is expected to deliver a Special Report on COVID-19.
Mali’s political turmoil
Fears of Mali’s political instability spiraling out of control is causing a wave of worry amongst its neighbors and allies. Tens of thousands of protesters over the past months have been demanding that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita step down.
President Keita’s reelection win in 2018 was said to have been marred by irregularities by the opposition party. The government thus push ahead with a legislative election in March of this year despite the outbreak of the coronavirus. Ahead of the election was said to have brought with it increased jihadist attacks and the kidnapping Soumaila Cisse, Mali’s main opposition leader.
Also, corruption and the economic hardship during the harsh economic times of the global pandemic have all played out in the disruption of the political stability of Mali.
The ECOWAS Single Currency Programme
Earlier last year, the 15 heads of states of ECOWAS agreed to launch the single currency “ECO” in January of this year. The ECO has been met with unparalleled challenges that will have to be pushed back especially given the time of the global pandemic. The Heads of States and Government spearheaded by Akuffo Addo will thus have to map out effective strategies to launch the common currency “ECO.”
Other issues to be faced by Akuffo Addo will include the strengthening of democracy in the sub-region especially ahead of the scheduled elections of Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, and Guinea and Vision 2050.