27 June 2011

ECOWAS to Emulate Chinese Devepment Model

Beijing — ECOWAS would explore the possibility of emulating the integrated approach to development which has transformed China into an economic giant for the benefit of the citizens, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency, James Victor Gbeho, has said in Beijing.
At a meeting with the Chinese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Zhai Jun, at the start of a week-long visit to mobilize additional Chinese support for the development of West Africa, the President said that such a development approach would enable the region to realize the dividends of democracy more expeditiously. "ECOWAS will continue to look at the Peoples Republic of China as a source of inspiration on how to bring economic progress and integration to the West African region," affirmed President Gbeho, who is leading a high-level ECOWAS delegation for talks aimed at strengthening cooperation between China and the Commission and its Member States. He conveyed the gratitude of the ECOWAS Chairman and Member States to the Government and people of the Peoples Republic of China, for their contribution to the development of West Africa.
Recalling the historic links between China and ECOWAS Member States which dates back to about 50 years, Ambassador Gbeho also used the opportunity to thank the United Nations Security Council of which China is a member for their support and understanding which contributed to the resolution of the recent political crisis in Cote d'Ivoire. Welcoming the delegation, Minister Jang said West Africa has a lot to learn from China which has prioritized the development of its infrastructure as the surest way of bringing development to the people in an integrated manner. He assured the delegation that China would continue to cherish its relations with the region through a deepening of cooperation toward the realization of West Africa's development objectives.
The ECOWAS delegation was also at the China-Africa Development Fund (CADfund) where President Gbeho canvassed the Fund's support for the development of the region's infrastructure and agriculture. He listed the priority areas to include investments in the energy, roads, rail, water and agriculture sectors, noting that in spite of its immense potentials, the region is characterized by subsistence farming with low productivity. To improve food security, the ECOWAS chief said efforts were being intensified to introduce business elements into the region's agriculture, adding that some Community Member States had already drawn up investment programmes with the purpose of infusing business elements into the sector. CADfund is active in the region with investments in the energy and other sectors. President Gbeho said the key objective of the mission is to deepen and strengthen cooperation between China and ECOWAS through increased private sector collaboration.
The visit, which is under the auspices of the 2008 Memorandum of Understanding between ECOWAS and the China Council for The Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) ,also enabled the ECOWAS team to hold discussions with officials of the China-Africa Joint Chamber of Commerce, the Export-Import Bank of China, the China Development Bank and the Deputy Minister of Commerce, Mr. Fu Ziying.

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