Accra, May 31, GNA - President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has ended the third phase of his tour of the ECOWAS countries with a day’s working visit to the Republic of Niger.
At a meeting with Nigerien President, Issoufou Mahamadou, the two leaders pledged to strengthen ties of co-operation that exist between their two countries and hold, for the first time in Ghana in 31 years, a Permanent Joint Commission on Co-operation to serve as the legal framework to address their trade and investment concerns.
Expressing concern about the low volumes of trade between the two countries, President Akufo-Addo stressed the critical importance of the regional market of ECOWAS to the development of West Africa whose population is set to hit 500 million in 20 years.
To this end, the President urged his Nigerien counterpart to help in the advocacy for the implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme which is expected to eliminate the impediments and challenges associated with the free movement of goods, persons and services in the region.
With ECOWAS having assigned to Ghana and Niger the task of seeing to the introduction of a common currency in West Africa; the ECO, President Akufo-Addo said the different currencies in the region had become an impediment to free trade and, thus, the need to expedite action on the introduction of the single currency.
President Akufo-Addo noted that a Common Agricultural Policy, the West African Power Pool, and a Common Tariff Regime are examples of good policies which should be put into effect in West Africa and just not remain on the books of ECOWAS.
With the modernisation and diversification of agriculture being one of the priorities of the Akufo-Addo Government, he proposed the strengthening of co-operation between Ghana and Niger in the area of agriculture, especially as 40 per cent of Niger’s Gross Domestic Product is from agriculture.
President Akufo-Addo gave the assurance that Ghana was prepared to share with Niger her experiences gained in the management of her oil and gas resources since their discovery in 2007, as well as the measures taken to ensure the prudent and effective use of the proceeds from their sale.
He said Ghana was well-placed to share with Niger the ‘dos and don’ts’ in the effective management of oil and gas revenues.
President Akufo-Addo said the co-ordination of the mutual exploitation of the resources of the two countries namely iron ore, gold and petroleum must be explored to the benefit of their peoples.
He urged the addition of value to these resources as this would aid in the creation of jobs and wealth for the peoples of the two countries.
Touching on the fight against terrorism, President Akufo-Addo assured President Issoufou that; “In Nana Akufo-Addo and in his government, the people of Niger have a strong and steadfast friend.”
He expressed the appreciation of the peoples of West Africa for “the sacrifices the Nigerien people, who are in the frontline of the fight against terrorism, are making to guarantee the peace and security for their country and the region as a whole.
He said: “Ghana will stand beside you in that fight and want you to know that whatever, within our modest means, we can do to promote the success of that struggle, you can count on us.”