Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe has been elected the new Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State of Government.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, President Gnassingbe’s election was announced at the end of the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held in Robertsfield, lower Margibi County on Sunday, June 4.
He took over from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female to serve as Chair of the ECOWAS Authority for a year.
Accepting the preferment, the Togolese President thanked his colleagues for the confidence reposed in him to lead the organization over the next 12 months.
“Your choice of Togo, in my humble person, I hereby accept. I humbly accept not only with honor and pride, but also and especially with a sense of responsibility and determination,” President Gnassingbe assured.
He seized the opportunity to express to his colleagues, on behalf of the Government and people of Togo, his gratitude and recognition for the unflinching support always shown them.
He reflected on the confidence and trust the ECOWAS Authority assigned to Togo in spearheading the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease in the sub-region a few years ago when he served as supervisor of the ECOWAS initiative in the fight against the pandemic.
“Now it’s also expressed in your trust in me as current Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority,” he said.
President Gnassingbe expressed warm congratulations to his predecessor, President Sirleaf, who during her tenure, showed ECOWAS’ will to preserve peace and accelerate the development and integration process in the sub-region.
He emphasized that the sub-regional organization, ECOWAS, is in full evolution and its achievements recognized by the whole world which are a thing of pride and satisfaction.
“We are pleased. We commend ourselves but we are by no means satisfied; rather our success encourages us not to rest on our laurels but to continue to further our efforts for more achievements,” he said.
The Togolese President stressed that the challenges before them are many and varied and “requires that we fully expand ourselves by learning from our potential and forge ahead in our objectives of an ECOWAS of people.”
He urged Member States to lift all barriers to disturbance to our people, encourage regional mobility within our economic space, enhance trade, demographic potential, industrialization, so many of these challenges we must fight together for the empowerment of our people.
The Summit was attended by 12 Heads of State and Government including the Presidents of Capo Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca; Senegal, Macky Sall; Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma; Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara; Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Togo,Faure Gnassingbe.
Others are the Presidents of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta; Gambia, Adama Barrow; Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré; Guinea Bissau, José Mário Vaz; Guinea, Alpha Condé; and host Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Other personalities that attended the Meeting included the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS), Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas; the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Ms. Federica Mogherini and the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, who was an official guest of the ECOWAS Commission.
Former Nigerian President, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo was a special guest at the Meeting.