The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, and US Agency for International Development, USAID, have signed a signed a pact on countering violent extremism and promoting trade activities in the sub-region.
The agreement, a reversed one, was signed by the President of ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Ouedraogo, and the West Africa Mission Director of USAID, Alex Deprez, in Abuja yesterday.
Under the agreement, the US through USAID will provide additional $23.6 million (U.S dollars) support f or activities to promote ECOWAS priorities.
The agreement would also improve citizens’ access to justice, increasing electrical generation, expanding cross border trade in electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It is meant to promote commercial viability of business investment in West Africa through the new trade hub.
Ouedraogo, said that the U.S had provided support for ECOWAS region over the years through a number of means.
“The launch of the new trade hub will complement the region’s efforts toward sustainable development. Furthermore the project is in line with the strategic vision of the ECOWAS toward the consolidation of a common market by the strengthening of the regional Free Trade Area.
“This is through the ECOWAS Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), the establishment of a Common External Tariff (CET) and Common Investment Market,” Ouedraogo said.
Also, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, said that USAID would collaborate with ECOWAS under the new West African trade hub to increase exports from the region.
“This will make West Africa more competitive in the world markets,” Entwistle said.