President Ernest Bai Koroma has arrived in the Nigerian capital of Abuja for the 35th ordinary summit of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This year’s summit will focus on recommendations for improving the region’s infrastructure as mandated during the 34th summit, also held in Abuja last year.
The task of submitting comprehensive recommendations for upgrading West Africa’s infrastructure was given to Presidents Laurent Gbagbo of Cote d’Ivoire and Joao Bernado Viera of Guinea Bissau, and they are expected to specifically make proposals for the improvement of the transport and energy sectors which are considered to be critical to regional integration.
The one-day summit, which takes place today Friday 19th December 2008, will also address issues relating to the conduct of the Ghanaian run-off elections slated for 28th December 2008, and the recent attempted assassination of President Viera.
It is also expected to adopt a political declaration on the Prevention of Drug Abuse, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime in West Africa as proposed by the Security Council.
The summit will also have in attendance the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Jean Ping, and the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, who will speak on “The Role of the ADB in Infrastructural Development in West Africa.”
President Koroma will actively participate in the deliberations tomorrow. He is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with host President Musa Yar’Adua.
Among the Presidential delegation are First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma who is also attending a summit of ECOWAS First Ladies, Foreign Affairs Minister Zainab Bangura, Presidential & Public Affairs Minister Alpha Kanu, Deputy Minister of Finance Richard Konteh, Financial Secretary Sheku Sesay, and new State Chief of Protocol Alusine Sesay.