The ECOWAS Commission supports ongoing efforts by the government of Cote d’Ivoire for the return of the headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to Abidjan, following its temporary relocation to Tunis over the political crisis in the country.
An ECOWAS Commission statement obtained by PANA here Friday quoted Commission President James Victor Gbeho as telling a delegation from the Bank’s office in Nigeria, who called on him on Wednesday, that ECOWAS member states were in favour of the return of the headquarters, following the return of peace to Cote d’Ivoire.
Addressing the delegation, led by the Bank’s Resident Representative Ousmane Dore, President Gbeho said the Commission was open to cooperation with the bank in developing the region’s infrastructure to make it more attractive as an investment destination and also in education and health care delivery ssectors.
The Commission, he said, is working hard to address the issue of the absorption of the bank’s facilities, adding that a Shenghen-type visa system for non-ECOWAS citizens is also in the pipeline to help stimulate foreign investment and tourism in the region.
In his remarks, Mr. Dore highlighted the low absorption of the bank’s facilities to the Commission, explaining that the bank had largely decentralized its operations in the continent as part of efforts to improve the efficiency of its facilities and bring the bank nearer to the people.
On the return of the bank headquarters to Abidjan, he said the bank was conscious that this would ultimately happen and was already making efforts towards the renovation of the building.
He said the bank also plans to focus on infrastructure development in line with its new transformation agenda.
Earlier, President Gbeho held a separate meeting with another delegation from the bank’s headquarters, led by Mr. N’guessan Kouassi, who confirmed that the bank was providing about US$1.9 million to support the region’s aviation sector, which should be utilized before the end of 2012