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6 ECOWAS States Elections Test Case For Democracy— Dr Konadu Apraku   
 
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13-Jan-2020  
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Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku
 
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The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has observed that democracy and good governance in the region will be put to test this year as Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger hold their national elections to elect heads of states.

According to the ECOWAS Commission, initiatives that were put in place for democracy and good governance over the years had yielded tangible results and that would be put to test “this year as the six countries hold their national elections.”

The Commissioner for Economic Policy and Economic Research at the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, made the observation at a two-day national consultation workshop in Tamale.

The workshop discussed the formulation of a post-2020 road map for the sub-region and assessed the achievements of ECOWAS so far under the Vision 2020 adopted a decade ago.

Organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the workshop attracted participants from the security agencies, state institutions, traditional institutions, the media, academia, as well as other members of the public.

Democracy and good governance

In his presentation, Dr Apraku said over the years the commission had chalked up significant successes in the area of democracy and good governance.

He stated that the Supplementary Protocols on Democracy and Good Governance adopted by ECOWAS had contributed to the promotion of democratic governance and consolidation of democratic institutions in the region.

"ECOWAS has been monitoring the conduct of elections in various member states and today, democracy and democratic accountability and peaceful election are being held throughout the region", he stated.

Macroeconomic Performance

On the macroeconomic performance of the region, Dr Apraku said the general economic performance in the region continued to improve in 2019, despite the global economic shutdown.

He said the regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was projected to pick up at 3.3 per cent in 2019, up from 1.0 in 2018 and projected to inch up to 3.4 per cent between 2020 and 2021.

For the first time since 2016, the regional GDP has surpassed the sub-Saharan average performance which was projected at 3.2 per cent in 2019, he stated

That development, he said, was attributed to prudent fiscal operation.

Single currency

Touching on the progress made on the ECOWAS single currency, the “ECO,” Dr Apraku said the four primary criteria for convergence for the monetary integration were budget deficit of not more than three per cent, average annual inflation of not more than five per cent, gross reserves that can finance at least three months of imports and public debt or GDP of not more than 70 per cent.

Dr Apraku said as of June 2019, the performance of member states on the macroeconomic convergence criteria had improved appreciably.

He added that performance improved on three of the four primary criteria, which are the budget deficit, central bank financing and Gross External Reserves.

Regional integration

He said ECOWAS had undertaken several community initiatives that had good prospects for the enhancement of regional integration and the overall socio-economic development of the region.

He cited the Community Development Programme (CDP) which was adopted in 2014 to deepen regional integration and turn the region into a competitive economy, particularly through the reduction of costs that made the ECOWAS space more economically viable within the context of a globalised economy.

Ghana's commitment

A Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Charles Owiredu, in his address said Ghana was firmly committed to the regional integration process and “in particular to the implementation at the national level of the various community protocols, programmes and policies which have a bearing on the political, economic, social and infrastructural development of the community and its citizens as a whole".

He said the long-term goal of ECOWAS remained the creation of a borderless, peaceful, prosperous and cohesive region.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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