Lomé hosts UEMOA, ECOWAS, ECCAS summits
The Togolese capital hosted a series of important events for West Africa’s regional organisations. UEMOA leaders met on 30 July 2018 for the 20th Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government. The meeting was convened by President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire who is also the current chairman of UEMOA. Member countries recorded solid economic growth in 2017 at 6.7%. For the first time, three of the eight member countries respected the convergence criteria. The level of the community solidarity tax was maintained at 0.8%. The tax covers the operational costs of the UEMOA Commission among other things. It was recently reduced from 1% to 0.8% and is supposed to be further reduced to 0.5% by January 2019. Leaders also reviewed the political, economic and social situations of member countries. They welcomed the mostly peaceful election in Mali and the newly-established consensual government in Guinea-Bissau. However, the overall security situation remains of concern. They asked the Commission to advance in the work to make the early warning system (MEVAP) operational. Just after the UEMOA summit, ECOWAS leaders gathered for their 53rd Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria was nominated as new ECOWAS chairperson. Twelve out of 15 heads of state participated in the summit. Questions about the free circulation of people and goods were at the heart of discussions. ECOWAS leaders welcomed the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and encouraged member countries to join quickly. They also commended the regional food security reserve’s interventions to assist vulnerable populations and urged member countries to replenish its food stocks. The joint ECOWAS-ECCAS summit was held on 30 July and focused on the security situation in West and Central Africa. Heads of state adopted the Lomé Declaration to collaborate on peace, security and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in the ECOWAS-ECCWAS space. They agreed to develop a common surveillance policy to enhance exchanges of strategic intelligence, particularly related to early warnings.