ECOWAS RE-OPENS REGIONAL BORDERS

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In their drive to reignite trade relations and boost economic activities across the ECOWAS region, the Council of Ministers of Government in West Africa have proposed a coordinated re-opening of their cross-borders to boost trade relations.

The new proposal, contained in an ECOWAS summary of a recent virtual meeting of Ministers of Transport and Trade from Member States called for the reopening of land, air and sea borders trade which has been crippled by the Coronavirus restrictions.

The first phase of the recommendation involves the opening up of domestic air and land transport in the month of June, which many governments within the region have started. The second phase involves the opening of land, air and sea borders within the region by middle of July. While the third phase of the recommendation involves the opening of land borders to other countries with low and controlled levels of coronavirus cases by July 31st.

The meeting; chaired by the Nigerian Aviation Minister, Senator HadiSirika recommends a three-phased approach to a harmonized and gradual reopening of land, air and sea borders in order to bring back cross-border economic activities, especially those economic activities which fall under essential goods.

The adopted recommendations have been submitted to the Co-Chairpersons of the Ad-hoc Ministerial Committee, Senator HadiSirika and President of the ECOWAS Commission H.E. Jean-Claude KassiBrou, for onward submission to H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Champion of the regional COVID-19 response, for its subsequent presentation to the 57th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government scheduled to hold in July 2020.

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