President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will begin his first official assignment as ECOWAS Chair tomorrow, as he hosts a consultative meeting of the Heads of States of West Africa on the political crisis in Mali.
The meeting, expected to take place at Peduase Lodge, will see stakeholders joining the military junta and key persons from the dissolved Malian government converging, as part of the efforts to return the country to constitutional rule and to prevent the political situation from deteriorating further.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said that at the 57th Ordinary Summit of ECOWAS in Niger, the Heads of States directed that Mali’s Head of Transitional government and Prime Minister, both civilians, be appointed no later than September 15 to lead the country to constitutional rule within 12 months.
“When they arrive in Ghana, they will come with the roadmap that will lead Mali back to constitutional rule,” she said.
The Minister further touched on the security challenges in the region, which include terrorism and violent extremism, insecurity at sea, political instability, election-related violence, drug and human trafficking, and epidemics and pandemics.
“Dealing with threats to human lives and property, democratic governance and increasing insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea and Lake Chad Basin- Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and the northern parts of Nigeria,are very crucial,” she added.
“There is no gainsaying that trade and economic development cannot thrive in an environment of insecurity, hence the need for the sustenance of regional peace and security, democracy and good governance, and the strengthening of co-operation among Member States,” the Minister noted.
Ms Botchwey further noted that the political crisis in Mali poses a major threat to the region, if not dealt with appropriately.
“With a vast territory without effective governance and the operations of several splinter terrorist groups operating in the country, a deterioration of the Malian socio-political crisis poses a serious security threat to the region,” she said.
She said the current situation in Mali may embolden the jihadists to undertake more attacks that will further cripple the country and destablise the region.
“This is the reason why ECOWAS has deployed efforts to address the situation since it began in June 2020 and following the coup d’ etat that toppled the government of President Keita on 18th August, 2020 and his subsequent resignation and the dissolution of the National Assembly on 19th August 2020,” she stated.