General News of Monday, 25 January 2021
Source: 3 News
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who is also the Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has urged member countries to continue their contributions to the one billion United States dollar (US$1 billion) ECOWAS Regional Security Fund (ERSF), created in support of the 2020-2024 Anti-Terrorism Action Plan.
He said raising this money has to be a high priority for members, because it enables the region to act independently in this crisis.
Mr Akufo-Addo made the appeal during the Virtual Summit 58th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, On Saturday, 23rd January 2021.
“I thank all Member States that are making significant efforts to support our initiatives, in this regard, especially those that have begun to pay their financial contribution to the one billion United States dollar (US$1 billion) ECOWAS Regional Security Fund (ERSF), created in support of the 2020-2024 Anti-Terrorism Action Plan. Raising this money has to be a high priority for us, because it enables us to act independently in this crisis. Your Excellencies will recall that the 2019 Summit created the Fund to cover a five (5) year period, 2020-2024,” he said.
He added that the West African Economic and Monetary Union UEMOA countries “committed to contribute five hundred million United States dollars (US$500 million), whilst the Federal Republic of Nigeria also pledged three hundred and fifty million dollars (US$350 million); leaving a balance of one hundred and fifty million dollars (US$150 million) for the six (6) remaining countries and other sources.
“Out of the five hundred million United States dollars ($500 million) pledged by the UEMOA countries, one hundred million ($100 million) has been disbursed directly to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to assist them in their anti-terrorism activities.
“We have yet to be informed of the status of the balance of the pledge. Out of the Nigerian pledge of three hundred and fifty million dollars ($350 million), one hundred million dollars ($100 million) was pledged for 2020, out of which eighty million dollars ($80 million) was to be used directly by them in their fight against terrorism on their northern border, and twenty million dollars ($20 million) was to go to the Fund.
“The Commission is awaiting confirmation transfer instructions for this amount, which will then leave a balance of two hundred and fifty million dollars to be contributed to the Fund by Nigeria.
“Ghana, on its part, has decided to pledge fifty million dollars ($50 million) over the five (5) year period, of which ten million dollars ($10 million) is destined for the Fund, and forty million dollars ($40 million) for the domestic empowerment of our border security against potential terrorist incursions. Half of the ten million dollars ($10 million), i.e., five million dollars ($5 million), has been paid by Ghana into the ESRF account, of which confirmation transfer instructions for this payment has been received.
“The remaining one hundred million dollars ($100 million), which is to be voluntarily paid by the other five (5) countries and other sources, will complete the establishment of the entire Fund. We need to do this as quickly as possible.
“We also need to engage on the growing menace to the maritime security of our region. Acts of piracy and maritime destabilization are on rapid increase in the Gulf of Guinea, illustrated by the data, which indicate a forty percent (40%) rise in pirate activities in the Gulf in 2020 over 2019. This calls for a strong regional response.”