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About tomorrow’s ECOWAS summit in Dakar

Oct 24, 2013, 10:05 AM

The economic situation and the recent political crises in the West African sub-region are the issues on the table for discussion tomorrow in the Senegalese capital Dakar, when leaders from ECOWAS meet for a special summit.

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States said this week that the economy would top the agenda, but also singled out as priorities the situations in Mali and Guinea-Bissau and the threat of post-electoral crisis in Guinea.

The regional bloc will also consider contributing more troops to the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) following a surge in Islamist attacks there.

MINUSMA is meant to eventually reach 12,640 troops and police. At the end of July it had just over 6,000 but Nigerian and some Chadian troops have since withdrawn.

Leaders at the summit will also call for calm in Guinea, where the opposition has said it will take its claims of election fraud to the country’s supreme court.

Guinea-Bissau, where ECOWAS also has troops, is another source of concern for the West African leaders.

Unity could be the best way to harmonise our efforts and work on a common agenda of development. African leaders especially those in the ECOWAS sub-region must now realise that unifying the continent and our sub-region, in particular, would give it more strength, and promotes economic growth.

It is sad that the efforts towards unity the continent has been yearning for are being confronted with serious impediments, such as the political unrest in several African states including some in our sub-region.

We have said it in this and other columns, that there is a great need for Africans to unite and be each other’s brother’s keeper.

African leaders, particularly, must remain united in tackling the current economic situation facing our sub-region, the situation in Mali and Guinea, among others.

“Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate”.

G.K. Chesterton