17th ECOWAS-UEMOA meeting
Since 2004, it has become routine for ECOWAS and UEMOA leaders to meet twice a year to discuss synergies and co-operation priorities. However, the 17th meeting, held on 4 June 2018 in Abuja, was the first one with the new ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Marcel Brou and UEMOA Commission President Abdallah Boureima. They discussed progress that has been made in various areas of co-operation, notably in the fields of agriculture, education, infrastructure and fiscal policies and in the harmonisation of the institutions’ legal frameworks. The two presidents signed a memorandum of understanding to advance co-operation in the field of crisis and conflict prevention, which will support UEMOA’s Early Warning and Surveillance Mechanism and the ECOWAS Early Warning and Response Mechanism (ECOWARN). Moreover, the two organisations are currently finalising a unique legal framework for small- and medium-sized enterprises in West Africa. A region-wide charter for SMEs should be approved by September 2018. CILSS has been mandated to facilitate the harmonisation of their legal frameworks and a community-wide input supply agreement by November 2018. Similarily, the two organisations have decided to work on harmonising the legal frameworks on competition within the next three months. Trade liberalisation issues under the economic partnership agreement (EPA) between West Africa and the European Union will be addressed during the next ECOWAS Heads of State and Government summit to outline their strategic orientations before the two intermediary agreements are supposed to enter into force on 1 January 2019. Ibrahima Dieme, UEMOA commissioner of the regional markets and co-operation department, urged participants to sustain the momentum by ensuring that they have regular consultations on joint projects and can further deepen West African regional integration. The next ECOWAS-UEMOA meeting is scheduled to take place in November 2018.