European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen and ECOWAS Commission President Omar Alieu Touray, during their special meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, have launched a major package to stabilise the region and drive West African socio-economic development.
Commissioner Urpilainen said: “The EU is a long-term supporter of regional integration, which produces prosperity through added value. Currently, ECOWAS operates in politically challenging context. It has a central role in stabilising West Africa by promoting democracy, rule of law and economic cooperation. The EU supports its work and regional leadership. Today, I was happy to sign financing agreements worth over €210 million contributing to ECOWAS programmes. Many of these actions align with the objectives of the EU’s positive and sustainable Global Gateway investment strategy.”
ECOWAS Commission’s President Touray said: “We welcome the visit of the EU Delegation led by Ms Jutta Urpilainen, the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, which aims at strengthening the ECOWAS-EU Cooperation. This strength of our equal partnership is being reflected today with the signing of 7 new financial agreements covering the areas of trade, migration, energy, and agriculture within the context of the Team Europe Global Strategy and in line with ECOWAS 4×4 Strategic objectives and ECOWAS Vision 2050.
We appreciate the EU’s continued strategic partnership with ECOWAS in providing support to addressing regional challenges in the areas of peace and security as well as on institutional capacity development. We note the progress made so far towards the implementation of the projects identified under the NDICI-Global Gateway.
Commissioner Urpilainen and President Touray reaffirmed strong ties and deepening partnership between EU and ECOWAS towards West Africa’s peace, regional integration and prosperity. They confirmed mutual commitments made to peace and security in the Sahel and throughout the West African region, in a context of evolving complex politics and increased security challenges. They underlined their alignment on the situation in Niger and in transition countries and discussed ways to strengthen democratic processes and democratic governance in the region and to ensure the continuity of assistance to the local populations who are the first victims of the situation.
Commissioner Urpilainen and President Touray concluded the meeting with the signature of 7 financing agreements with a total EU support of €212.5 million with a focus on trade and regional integration, energy interconnectivity, renewable energy, affordable and clean energy, sustainable food systems, food security and migration.
This new financial package for West Africa will be soon complemented by additional support in the areas of peace and security, transport, water management, environment, digitalization, health and education. Under the Global Gateway Africa-Europe Investment Package, the European Union committed to mobilize up to €150 billion in investments for Africa between 2021 and 2027 to accelerate an inclusive, green and digital transition that will boost regional economic integration, sustainable growth and decent job creation.
Background information on Seven (7) Financing Agreements:
– Support to Free Movement of persons and Migration (€34 million): maximizing the development potential of free movement of persons and migration within a more secure and rights-based Economic Community of West African Countries in the context of regional integration process. This would be achieved by supporting the effective implementation of ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol and ECOWAS Common Approach on Migration at the regional, national and local levels.
– Africa Trade Competitiveness and Market Access (€50 million): increasing sustainable intra-African trade and strengthening Africa-EU trade by enhancing market access and export competitiveness for SMEs in selected value chains.
– Trade in Services in Sub-Saharan Africa (€11.5 million): increasing the liberalisation of services and exports for selected services sectors with the aim to increase intra-regional, continental and bilateral trade in services, enabling higher integration into regional and global value chains.
– Support programme for specialised ECOWAS organisations active in the energy sector to develop the regional electricity market and operationalise its interconnected grid and increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix (€25 million): increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy mix through the establishment and development of the regional electricity market for sustainable, affordable and accessible energy for women and men in all their diversity.
– Regional Clean Cooking Action in West Africa – ReCCAWA (€12 million): increasing access to clean, efficient, sustainable and affordable cooking energy solutions in West Africa by strengthening the clean cooking enabling framework at regional and national scales, by proposing innovative financing and promoting business models that will scale-up the supply, dissemination and adoption of clean cooking solutions, and by creating and disseminating evidence-based data and knowledge that will contribute to the governance of the West African cooking sector.
– Project to support the Regional Food Security Storage Strategy in West Africa – PASRSSA (€20 million): supporting the integrated and coordinated implementation of ECOWAS’s regional storage strategy and the regional governance of food and nutrition security of actors in the Sahel Club and West Africa.
– Regional support programme for the development of the pastoral economy in West Africa and the Sahel – PRADEP-AOS (€60 million): enhancing the contribution of the livestock sector to the transformation of sustainable food systems and to inclusive and resilient green growth of the economies of the countries of the region.
ECOWAS is a 16-member economic organisation which aims at promoting economic co-operation and integration in West Africa. It also focuses on raising the living standards of the people and enhancing economic stability, fostering multifaceted relations among member states across West Africa.