State House, Banjul, 5th October 2022: President Barrow has tasked the new ECOWAS representative to The Gambia to work on mapping out strategies that will facilitate the easy movement of people, goods, and services across borders within the regional bloc and Africa at large.
“Countries should have the choice of transportation to improve the 12% trade within the continent.” The President made the remarks at the State House in Banjul when he received the Letters of Credence of the ECOWAS Resident Representative to The Gambia, Ms. Miatta Lily French.
The President further noted that ECOWAS member States should make the best use of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)Agreement, in consolidating and addressing trade conditions.
On political stability in the sub-region, President Barrow told the new ECOWAS Resident Representative that he is optimistic that she would bring along new experiences to reinforce the Commission’s work and address unconstitutional governance in the West African States.
Speaking to the media after her presentation, Ms. French thanked President Barrow for the warm reception. She congratulated The Gambia for the current political stability in the country, given the ongoing political instability in some parts of the ECOWAS sub-region.
Ms. French also outlined some of her discussions with the President, which she said included activities of the Regional body in The Gambia, such as the West Africa Police Information Systems, the ECOWAS Regional Competitive Authority, and the Regional Stabilization Fund, which is currently financing some Projects in The Gambia.
Speaking on The Gambia’s position in ECOWAS, the Resident Representative said, ‘‘It is one of the smallest countries in ECOWAS but currently holding the presidency of the Commission, and I think that is a good opportunity for it to grow and to manifest itself as a force to reckon with.’’
Asked about ECOWAS’ plans and initiatives to tackle the food crisis in the Sub-region, Ms. French said West Africa could be food self-sufficient. However, the challenge is to increase production and ensure that cross-border trade is made easy and accessible in the sub-region. ‘‘It is for us to maximise our production and make sure that whatever is produced moves, and that is one of the concerns of the President; that we should be able to move things across borders so what happens in the West does not affect us.” She concluded that it is a question of countries pooling resources together and getting the infrastructure right to support trade.