The ECOWAS Commission and the Open Society Institute (OSI) have agreed to extend their areas of cooperation to cover such issues as managing revenue from natural resources in ECOWAS member states.
The agreement was the high point of the visit to ECOWAS Monday by a delegation led by OSI’s founder and Chairman, Hungarian-born American investor and philanthropists George Soros.
Mr. Soros used the occasion to pledge OSI’s continued support for ECOWAS, saying: ”We are pleased and ready to continue our assistance to ECOWAS because we stand for cooperation.” He expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation between OSI and ECOWAS in areas of conflict prevention, election monitoring and consolidation of democracy and good governance. Mr. Soros said if ECOWAS was strengthened and adequately supported, it would contribute immensely in solving many of the problems in its member states.
The OSI boss, who said election was crucial to the transition of power, advocated the creation of a regional system to monitor elections as well as provide assistance in electoral matters to Member States. He described as ”very significant development” the establishment of ECOWAS, a regional economic integration body, noting that it could now set standards in election matters and in the protection of human rights in West Africa.
In his remarks, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, expressed appreciation for the good work Mr. Soros is doing for West Africa.Describing Mr. Soros as supporting a worthy cause, he recalled the assistance given to the regional organisation in developing a common mechanism for good practices in electoral matters.
Dr. Chambas also recalled the decision of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on zero tolerance for unconstitutional access to power and thanked the Open Society Institute West Africa (OSIWA) for its assistance in setting up the ECOWAS Electoral Unit, which has contributed to the establishment of credible institutions and the organisation of free and fair elections in ECOWAS member states.