The Togolese president, Faure Gnassingbé, current chairman of the West African Economic and monetary Union (UEMOA), on Thursday opened the 17th ordinary session of the Conference of heads of state and government in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, with a call for the acceleration of integration in the zone.
“Integration is the only means through which our projects will materialize on a sound and sustainable footing in UEMOA. We must establish mechanisms of alert as well as solutions to guarantee investments and economic and financial activities, even in periods of crisis,” he told heads of State and delegations from eight UEMOA member countries.
President Gnassingbé stressed the importance of security and peace in UEMOA countries, food security and the development of the energy sector, economic integration and agricultural development.
On Mali, the Togolese president congratulated the new Malian president, Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita, who is attending the Union’s proceedings for the first time, saying “Our union needs strong, prosperous and united Mali.”
The Togolese president also hailed the electoral process in Guinea Bissau, urging all stakeholders to contribute actively to its success, while stressing that UEMOA will help finance the elections in the country, like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
On his part, President Macky Sall of Senegal said: “What brings us together is the force of an ideal for integrated development making our countries inseparable links of a same chain of solidarity to reach our common goals, in peace and security.
“It is for this reason that we will successfully face the challenges in the daily life of our populations, challenges linked to peace and security, food sufficiency, environment, energy, basic infrastructure and the demands of a changing world,” he said in his opening speech.
UEMOA was set up in Dakar on 10 January 1994 by the heads of state and government from the seven Wet African countries that use the common currency, the CFA.
They are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The Treaty came into force on 1 August 1994 after its ratification by member States.
On 2 May 1997, Guinea Bissau became the eighth member country of the Union.