By John Ikani
The Economic Community of West African States has agreed to reduce its commission from the current 15 members to a seven-member effective March 2022.
The decision, which was taken at the ended of the 59th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Accra is aimed at cutting down cost.
The new seven-member structure Commission, which takes effect from March 2022, will consist of the President, the Vice President and five other Commissioners.
The Session, which was formally opened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, was attended by all ECOWAS Member States, with the exception of Mali, due to a military coup d’etat there.
The Accra Meeting adopted the reconstituted ECOWAS Council of the Wise for Preventive Diplomacy, with Dr Goodluck Jonathan, a former Nigerian President as the Chairman.
Dr Jonathan is currently serving as the ECOWAS Chief Mediator in the Malian crisis.
The reconstituted Council consists of 30 members, two from each of the 15-Member States of ECOWAS.
Ghana’s representatives to the Council are Mrs Gifty Afenyi-Dadzie, a former member of Council of State and Dr Williams Collins Asare, a former Country Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The 59th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in a communique urged the Malian Transition Government to abide by the transition programme and hand over power to an elected civilian administration in 2022.
The Session reaffirmed its commitment to intensify the fight against terrorism and insecurity in the Sahel.
To address the issue of piracy at sea, the Accra Meeting reiterated ECOWAS leaders’ commitment to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Session extended the mandate of the ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG) to ensure the security of their December 2021 polls.
With regards to efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the West Africa region, the Session tasked the West African Health Organization (WAHO) to intensify its efforts in the local production of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Accra meeting agreed to launch the ECOWAS single currency, the Eco by 2027.
Abuja will host the next ECOWAS regular Session in December.