Ghana PresidentPresident John Draman Mahama of Ghana has been unanimously elected the new Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He will lead the regional economic grouping for a year.

President Mahama’s election has dashed President Yahya Jammeh’s life-long dreams of occupying the coveted regional Chairmanship. Gambian leader was reportedly rejected by his West African colleagues in the past mainly because of his refusal to comply with ECOWAS’ protocols, which among others, oblige all member countries to respect the rights of their citizens.

President Mahama takes over from President Alasane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire. Ouattara led ECOWAS between February 2012 and March 2014.

President Mahama is expected to present his acceptance speech at the ongoing 44th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’ Ivoire, later today.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic via telephone from Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said President Mahama would be faced with the challenge to manage the ECOWAS’ integration agenda, including returning stability to Mali. Ms Hannah Tetteh said President Mahama was ready for the task ahead.

She added that under the Mahama chairmanship, the Heads of State and Governments would work towards overseeing a peaceful and democratic elections in Guinea Bissau, which would eventually pave the way for the sanctions imposed on that country to be lifted.

On the signing of the controversial Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Ms Tetteh stated that the Heads of State and Governments had in principle approved the agreement but Nigeria had some specific concerns.
On that score, she added, a committee had been set up by the Heads of State and Governments, made up of Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’ Ivoire and Senegal, to look at the technical issues and report back to the Heads of State in two months.

It would be recalled that former Presidents J J. Rawlings and J.A. Kufuor chaired the ECOWAS at various times during their tenures in office.



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