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Published On: Thu, Oct 16th, 2014

ECOWAS, Canada to strengthen cooperation in trade, economic development

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ECOWASBy Edoamaowo Udeme

The ECOWAS Commission and Canada have agreed to strengthen and deepen cooperation in various strategic areas, including regional security, trade, economic development and investment, capacity building and

humanitarian issues.

“The benefits of long-standing relation between ECOWAS and Canada at country and regional levels, and especially Canada’s leadership role in the capitalization of development partners’ Pool Fund cannot be taken for granted,” the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh said in Abuja yesterday.

Receiving Mr Kenneth Neufeld, visiting Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Director General for West and Central Africa, on behalf of the President of the Commission, Dr. McIntosh also called on ECOWAS development partners to look beyond the traditional areas of collaboration and take on board emerging challenges facing the region such as terrorism, piracy, human and drug trafficking, and the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak.

He explained that Ebola has gone beyond health and has humanitarian and development dimensions, requiring financial and capacity support from partners to address. There are also the post-Ebola implications at national and regional levels, which require raising public awareness and community mobilization for effective preparedness, management and control initiatives, the Vice President added.

On the political front, he said the Commission would require help to cope with the cost of monitoring presidential elections in five ECOWAS Member States (Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Burkina Faso and Guinea) in 2015, saying “these are real challenges that we need to think through and address with development partners and stakeholders.”

In his response, Mr. Neufeld underlined the importance of the strong partnership between ECOWAS and Canada, and expressed his appreciation for the work being done by the organization in the areas of regional security, integration and development.

He also acknowledged the economic progress and integration taking place in the region and expressed the hope that ECOWAS would bring its dynamism to bear in addressing its challenges.

Mr Neufeld was accompanied on the visit by the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria Mr. Perry John Calderwood.


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