Lomé, 9 July 2018. The Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) will meet on 30 July 2018 in Lomé, Togo.
They will hold a joint summit to discuss the security situation and adopt a Declaration defining a common approach on peace, security, radicalisation and violent extremism in the two sub-regions.
Ahead of the joint summit, a meeting of experts and ministers from the two Communities will be held in the Togolese capital.
The ministerial meeting will take place on 28 July 2018 and will be attended by Ministers of Foreign Affairs and those in charge of Defence or Security. The meeting will consider and adopt the draft Declaration and the draft joint final communiqué to be issued at the end of the joint summit of leaders of the two Regional Economic Communities.
For its part, the meeting of experts will take place on 10 and 11 July 2018, involving two experts from each ECOWAS and ECCAS country, one representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the other the Ministry in charge of Defence or Security.
Staff from the ECOWAS Commission and the ECCAS General Secretariat will also attend the meeting.
Representatives from the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), the African Union, the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), the G5 Sahel, the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission will also attend the meeting.
The experts’ meeting will feature presentations followed by discussions on the security situation in the two Communities, as well as bilateral and regional initiatives to combat terrorism and violent extremism.
It is no secret that illegal cross-border activities, including terrorism, money laundering, violent extremism and trafficking in arms, persons and drugs are common security threats in Central and West Africa.
These threats hinder peace, security and stability, and undermine the development efforts of ECOWAS and ECCAS Member States and their already fragile economies.
In order to address the challenges, the two regional economic organisations have respectively taken legal and/or political measures to prevent or specifically respond to these threats.
In the area of maritime safety and security, the Summit of ECOWAS and ECCAS Heads of State and Government, held on 25 June 2013 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, adopted the Declaration on Maritime Safety and Security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Declaration launched the “Yaoundé Process”, which provided the two Regional Economic Communities with an effective, inter-connected maritime security architecture coordinated by the inter-regional Coordination Centre based in based Yaoundé.
The joint meetings of experts and ministers, and the summit of Heads of State and Government of the two regional institutions will consolidate the joint efforts made by the two regions since 2015.
These efforts aim to define and implement a common approach on peace, security, stability and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in West and Central Africa.
It should be noted that ECCAS comprises 11 countries, which are: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Sao Tome and Principe and Rwanda.
ECOWAS, on the other hand, is made up of 15 Member States, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.