ECOWAS joins calls for debt forgiveness for Ebola affected countries
President John Dramani Mahama has announced that the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) had put in a special appeal to development partners and the international donor community to forgive the debts of the most affected Ebola countries in the sub-region.
The forgiveness, the President explained, would enable the countries – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone – to re-invest in their socio-economic sectors of their economies.
President Mahama, who is also the Chairman of ECOWAS Heads of Heads and government, announced this while briefing the media on proceedings of the just-ended African Union Summit, on his arrival at the Kotoka International Airport.
He said apart from the forgiveness, there was the need for recapitalization of the affected countries.
The Ebola virus disease, which broke out in the three countries with flashes in Nigeria and Mali, last year, had over the months killed hundreds of people, affected thousands with its resultant destruction of the economies of the affected countries.
Apart from that, health, education, trade and commerce, had taken a nosedive, while those countries are facing stigmatisation in terms of investment, with job creation opportunities becoming almost non-existent.
President Mahama said the affected countries had suffered a lot, therefore, the forgiveness of the debts would give them a breather to re-build their almost devastated economies to ensure investor confidence.
On the issue of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria and parts of Cameroun, President Mahama said the AU Peace and Security Council had tabled and approved the proposal to set up a regional force with 7,500 troops to fight the terrorists’ activities in Northern Nigeria.
He said a follow-up meeting to fashion out modalities of the force would be held in Yaoundé, Cameroun, this week, adding that Chad had already indicated their support in terms of contributing troops to fight the menace in Cameroun.
President Mahama said the Peace and Security Council also presented reports on the situation in Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Northern Mali, and the updates were considered to find lasting solutions to the conflicts in the affected areas.
On Free trade, the President said Ghana was chairing the high level continental free trade and that three sub regions were ready for the implementation, while ECOWAS was also putting up finishing touches to join other communities.
He gave the assurance that all the sub-regions were working around the clock to meet their 2017 continental free trade targets, where there would be common tariffs and free flow of commercial activities throughout the continent.
President Mahama announced that Ghana’s Daniel Batidam was elected as one of the 11 members of the AU Anti-Corruption Committee and gave the assurance that everything possible would be done to eliminate the canker in Ghana and the continent. – GNA