Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ECOWAS, India sign new deal

ECOWAS, India sign multi-sector cooperation pact
ECOWAS and India last Friday, 6 May, 2011 signed a Memorandum of UnderstandingJames Victor Gbeho and the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mahesh Sachdev, signed the agreement; which provides for the establishment and deepening of relations in banking, food and agro-based industries, building and the construction of roads, railways and other means of communication. (MoU) to strengthen multi sectoral cooperation in nine identified core areas. ECOWAS Commission President
According to a statement dated 9 May, 2011 from ECOWAS headquarters, the pact also covers cooperation in metallurgical, mechanical, energy, textile, leather, transport, communication, electronics and biotechnology industries. “Both parties”, the release adds; “are expected to establish procedures and mechanisms for operationalizing the MoU, including implementation strategies, programmes and activities”.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, which was witnessed by visiting Indian Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr. R.P.N. Singh; Ambassador Gbeho said: “The MoU is a tool for development and aims to help us achieve the region’s vision of a people-driven institution by contributing to improving the welfare of our citizens”.
Ambassador Gbeho recalled that “ECOWAS, which was originally dedicated to the pursuit of the region’s economic development, had to expand its role into the political arena to cope with the region’s dynamics as well as to create a conducive environment for the realisation of its core mandate”.
The President, who applauded India’s economic development; describing it as a source of inspiration for ECOWAS states; subsequently explained that the regional body has been “trying its best to improve the welfare of the region’s citizens in line with this mandate and look forward to collaborating with India, which has a lot of similarity with ECOWAS Member States”.  
Responding, the Indian High Commissioner said the MoU holds great potentials for broadening cooperation between ECOWAS and his country, which already enjoys good bilateral relations with member states of the community. He used the opportunity to invite the ECOWAS President to the second Africa-India Summit billed to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 24 and 25 May 2011. 
Describing the premiere summit, which took place in Delhi, India; from 4 and 8 April 2008, and saw 14 African leaders in Attendance; as “hugely successful”, the High Commissioner said the second edition will follow up on some of the agreed activities with a meeting on the sidelines, of Indian and African businessmen toward boosting business cooperation between operators from both parties.

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