The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, has highlighted the impressive economic growth achieved by most member states of ECOWAS despite a difficult international environment and global economic slowdown. In his presentation of the Annual Report on the State of the Community to the ECOWAS Parliament, Touray outlined key achievements, challenges, and opportunities for the region in 2023.
The report focused on the macro-economic situation, performances of ECOWAS institutions, and progress on regional integration and development agenda. Notable achievements include the establishment of the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card (ENBIC), the introduction of ECOVISA (a single visa system), and the adoption of a set of 96 ECOWAS Standards (ECOSTANDS).
However, challenges such as geopolitical conflicts, inflationary pressures, high public debt, and tightening monetary policies persist. Opportunities include the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), increased investment in infrastructure, and development of the digital economy.
The report recommended strengthening regional cooperation, promoting private sector development, investing in human capital, and enhancing resilience to shocks. On the security situation, the report highlighted challenges posed by insecurity in Nigeria, including Boko Haram insurgency, criminal gangs in the South-East region, and secessionist movements. It acknowledged President Tinubu’s commitment to prioritizing security and replacing the country’s service chiefs.
Economically, the report noted factors affecting Nigeria’s economy, including the Naira redesign policy, low crude oil output, high inflation, and weak private sector growth. Despite challenges, the economy is expected to grow by 2.6% in 2024.
The report also expressed concern about human rights violations in Nigeria, particularly during off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa states. The government has pledged to investigate these violations and bring perpetrators to justice.
In conclusion, despite the challenges faced by ECOWAS member states, the region has recorded impressive economic growth. The report emphasized the need to address existing challenges, capitalize on available opportunities, and work towards sustainable economic development in the region. The commitment of ECOWAS and its member states to addressing these issues will be crucial in shaping the economic outlook for the years to come. For more information on economic developments in Nigeria and the West African region, visit the Nigerian Tribune website.