ECOWAS leaders ended their 43rd Ordinary session in Abuja on Wednesday 18th July 2013 with a decision to enlarge the membership of the Commission from the present nine to 15, in line with their agreement in Yamoussoukro last February under the ongoing institutional reform.
The expansion, which follows the transformation of ECOWAS from an Executive Secretariat to a Commission in 2007, seeks to ensure equity and sense of belonging among the 15 Member States of the Community set up in 1975 to facilitate regional economic development and integration as well as promote greater efficiency.
The new-look Commission with non-renewable four-year tenure for each candidate is as follows:
Statutory posts allocation- President- Burkina Faso, Vice President- Liberia, Commissioners for Finance- Sierra Leone, Microeconomic Policy & Economic Research- Mali, Trade, Customs & Free Movement- Niger, Agriculture, Environment & Water Resources- Togo, Infrastructure- Gambia, Political Affairs, Peace & Security- Nigeria, Social Affairs & Gender- Senegal, General Administration & Conference- Ghana, Human Resources & Management- Guinea Bissau, Education, Science & Culture- Benin, Energy & Mines- Guinea, Telecommunications-IT- Cape Verde and Industry & Private Sector Promotion- Cote d’Ivoire.
In a communique at the end of their two day meeting, the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government also allocated the statutory positions that have expired in the other Community Institutions as follows:
Financial Controller- Nigeria, Director General GIABA – Cote d’Ivoire, Deputy Director General GIABA –Ghana, Director General WAHO- Niger, Deputy Director General WAHO- Benin, Judge 1, Community Court of Justice- Nigeria, Judge 2, Community Court of Justice- Liberia, judge 3, Community Court of Justice- Mali and Judge 4, Community Court of Justice- Burkina Faso.
The leaders also noted the advancement of the institutional reform process and urged the Commission to pursue the exercise till its successful conclusion.
On other issues, the Summit acknowledged the peace progress in Mali and Guinea Bissau and called for international support for the political transitions following the security and political crises in both countries.
The regional leaders also underscored the “need for coordination to ensure coherence and complementarity of the disparate” initiatives and strategies development towards finding a lasting solution to the security and development challenges in the Sahel region.
“Towards this end, Authority directs the Commission to expedite action on the adoption of the ECOWAS Sahel Strategy, and to ensure ECOWAS’ coordination role of the various strategies at the regional level,” the Communiqué added.