New ECOWAS President takes office

2 March 2012

African Press Organization (APO)

The new President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo assumed office on Thursday, 1st March 2012 with a pledge to contribute toward the attainment of the dreams of the Organization’s founding fathers by making West Africa a leading power for the realization of Africa’s unity.

“Let us work together against poverty, injustice and bad governance,” he affirmed, during a brief ceremony to introduce him to staff at the Commission’s Abuja Headquarters. “Let us work hard to build a community which all of us shall be proud of.”

President Ouedraogo urged West African youths in particular, to share his “enthusiasm and hope for the future of ECOWAS and indeed, the brilliant future of Africa,” stressing that “ECOWAS must be a land of peace, unity and progress.”

He paid glowing tributes to the founding fathers of ECOWAS and those who sometimes sacrificed their lives to build the Community over the past 37 years of its existence.

Specifically, President Ouedraogo expressed his profound gratitude to the government and people of Nigeria, and President Goodluck Jonathan, the immediate past Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for the warm welcome and support extended to him.

He also commended the outgoing President of the Commission, His Excellency James Victor Gbeho and his predecessor, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, for the “wonderful job they have done for ECOWAS and its institutions.”

President Ouedraogo, a former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, who served as Deputy Executive Secretary of ECOWAS between 1985 and 1993, equally commended ECOWAS leaders for the confidence reposed in him and pledged to do his best.

He called for the total cooperation of the Commission’s new team including Vice-President Dr Toga Mcintosh, the Commissioners who assumed duties recently and the entire staff, to enable the organization deliver on its mandate and objectives.

In his remarks, President Gbeho said the assumption of duty by the new management team marked a new stage in the life of ECOWAS.

He welcomed his successor and urged the Commission’s staff to extend to the new management team the same level of cooperation or even more than he and his team enjoyed.

ECOWAS has since its founding in 1975 through the Treaty of Lagos, undergone some major restructuring including its transformation in 2007 from an Executive Secretariat to a Commission with a President, Vice-President and seven pioneer Commissioners.

Until his new appointment, President Ouedraogo was his country’s Ambassador and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Belgium, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom Northern Ireland as well as the country’s Permanent Representative to the European Union, the Organization for the prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the World Customs Organization.

He was a Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of West Africa States (BCEAO) in Dakar, Senegal between 1993 and 1996, and elected a Member of Parliament in 1997.

In 1996, he received the award of Grand Officer in the National Order of Burkina Faso.

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