Ghana President John Mahama has been elected Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
President Mahama, who takes over from Ivorian President Allasane Ouattara, was elected in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, during the 44th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
“President Mahama’s incorruptible and selfless leadership would guide him to offer real hope to the people of Africa in his one-year tenure,” the Kuku Hill Campaign Centre of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said in a statement.
Since taking over as president of Ghana in 2012, Mr. Mahama has ensured steady economic growth driven by oil revenues and the strong export performance of cocoa and gold, among others. The African Development Bank (AfDB) described the country’s economic outlook in the medium-term as healthy, with GDP growth projected to be 8.0 percent (6.5 percent non-oil) in 2013 and 8.7 percent (6.9 percent non-oil) in 2014, a growth rate that dwarfs its average annual growth rate of 6.5 percent since 2000.
The Ghanaian president’s style of leadership and policies has also earned him great respect on the continent, with his social media follower ship currently one of the largest of African leaders.
Regarded as one of the pillars of the African Economic Community, ECOWAS was founded to achieve “collective self-sufficiency” for member states.
Mr. Mahama is expected to continue promoting economic integration in the West African region, among other things. He is also expected to continue working with the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) – a group of six countries within ECOWAS – on introducing a common currency, the Eco, by the year 2015.
Infrastructural interconnectivity within the ECOWAS region is also a project Mahama is expected to embark upon during his tenure.
The new ECOWAS Chair had in May 2013 stated that West Africa was threatened by Islamist militancy, thus he is expected to enhance the organization’s commitment to peacekeeping in the region (used in reducing terrorism) as a way of boosting economic stability.