The Authority of Heads of State has elected the President of Guinea-Bissau, HE Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embaló, as the new ECOWAS Chairman to succeed President Akufo-Addo of Ghana, who served the regional body for two terms.
President Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embaló of Guinea-Bissau was elected during the 61st Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Sunday in Accra, Ghana.
According to the Graphic newspaper report on Monday, the 49-year-old political scientist, who retired as Brigadier-General before joining politics, has been President of Guinea-Bissau since February 27, 2020. President Sissoco Embaló had served as Prime Minister of his country between November 2016 and January 2018.
The report added that the outgoing chairman, President Akufo-Addo said in his address that ECOWAS countries should work to enhance their production in agriculture to reach self-sufficiency in the area of food self-sufficiency.
He noted that it is the surest way to deal with the sharp increases in global prices, particularly of food and petroleum products.
“We are all victims of global inflationary pressures, which have exacerbated the food crisis in many parts of our region, instigated by the decline in production due to the impact of climate change,” he said.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the summit was taking place in a very challenging global context, characterised by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the difficult security and political situation in the region and in the world.
He added that the challenges had been compounded by the adverse impact of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine on the various economies and social sectors.
Speaking on the increasing threat of terrorism in the region, President Akufo-Addo said that it was imperative to implement the regional action plan against terrorism and coordinate various security initiatives to reinforce the collective response to the destabilising threat.
“Our determination in this area must be stronger than ever. Equally unshaken must be our resolve to maintain the stability of our region and its member states,” the newspaper quoted President Akufo-Addo as saying.
He reviewed the efforts made by the regional body to secure peace in Guinea-Bissau after the failed coup d’état in the country in February 2022 and the deployment of the standby force to support the stability of that country and the elected government.
President Akufo-Addo also recalled the extraordinary summit held in Accra to discuss extensively the political and social situation in the region with emphasis on the political transition in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso emanating from the unfortunate coups in those countries.
“We decided to re-examine this matter during this ordinary summit. ECOWAS remains committed to accompanying these sister nations to return to normal constitutional democratic order,” he said.
He commended his colleagues for supporting him as the Chairman of the authority for two terms and pledged to continue to play his part to the best of his ability in the work of the Authority.