Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Okaikoi South, Nana Akomea, has described the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as a useless body in the sub-region.
He said after 40 years of existence, the ordinary African has not benefitted anything substantial from the regional body.
Citing the difficulties member states face during their trading activities in the sub-region, Nana Akomea stated emphatically that ECOWAS has outlived its usefulness.
The former Okaikoi South MP was commenting on the controversy surrounding the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU).
African Heads of State failed to sign the trade partnership at the 44th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS last Saturday after Nigeria raised issues with the agreement.
The EPA trade agreement initiated by the EU, seeking at getting 80% of its goods into African countries without any tax.But a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting said some member states raised technical issues about the agreement.
ECOWAS has directed its chief negotiators to within two months, take steps to address the issues raised by Nigeria and other member states before the agreement could be signed.
Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Monday, Nana Akomea blamed African Heads of State for not taking advantage of the open market the European Union gave it to expand its economies.
According to him, if after 40 years ECOWAS has not been able to introduce one currency for member states, then there is no hope for an African economic union.
“It is easier to sell in Europe than in Nigeria or Cote d’Ivoire so what is the essence of ECOWAS? Leadership in ECOWAS has been useless”, he exclaimed.
Nana Akomea said the only way forward for the citizens of member states is to put pressure on their leaders to form a formidable economic union to compete with the European Union.
On the contrary, Ghana’s Ambassador to India, Sam Pee Yarley, who was a panelist on the programme, said ECOWAS has done substantially well in peace keeping activities especially in Sierra Leone, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire.
This notwithstanding, he stressed the need for ECOWAS to expedite action on the proposed economic integration among member states.
“We don’t have the luxury to waste time; beyond the façade of conferences and meeting, we should make ECOWAS a popular slogan by actions”, he stressed.
Sam Pee Yarley was confident that President John Mahama as new ECOWAS Chairman, will make a great impact.
“It takes one person to make a difference and I believe President Mahama is better placed to address the issues on the continent”.