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USAID pledges $1 billion towards ECOWAS member states’ economic development

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has pledged $1 billion to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to strengthen partnership between the two groups and boost West African economies.

USAID disclosed that the budget is aimed at boosting the economic development of the West African region on the ECOWAS official website on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

According to the statement, the Vice-President of the ECOWAS, Mrs Damtien L. Tchintchibidja, met with the Regional Director – West Africa of USAID, Mrs Jo Lesser Oltheten, in Abuja, with a view to finalising a new partnership agreement between their Institutions.

Oltheten was quoted as saying that the financial assistance will address specific needs of the region.

What she said,

“The next five-year cooperative agreement, with an estimated budget of 1 billion US dollars, will cover a number of thematic areas and will focus on the specific needs of ECOWAS and its Member States in order to boost the region’s economic development and the resilience of its people in the face of multiple economic, security and climate challenges.”

Oltheten stressed the importance of ECOWAS mission in promoting economic integration through interventions in the fields of industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resource management, trade, monetary and financial issues, and social and cultural matters.

She acknowledged ECOWAS’ commitment to the maintenance of regional peace and security.

In her address of welcome, the Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission, Tchintchibidja, appreciated USAID for  revitalising the existing cooperation between ECOWAS and US agencies.

She further revealed that the new partnership to be signed soon “covers several areas, namely peace and security, early warning mechanism, agriculture, health, gender, social inclusion, energy and communication.”

The statement added,

“H.E. Mrs Damtien L. Tchintchibidja confirmed the availability of experts from the ECOWAS sectoral departments to identify the various areas of cooperation that will contribute to the stabilisation and consolidation of democracy, peace and regional security, as well as to the implementation of regional programmes and the achievement of sustainable development objectives in Member States.

“The meeting, which was attended by Directors and experts from the ECOWAS Commission and USAID, was an opportunity for H.E. Mrs Damtien L. Tchintchibidja and Mrs Jo Lesser OLTHETEN to take stock of the cooperation between the two organisations, and to discuss the programmes and projects to be covered by the future partnership agreement to be signed this year between ECOWAS and USAID.”

 More insights

The USAID confirmed via a tweet that the  key areas of the 2024 new agreement with ECOWAS are “Economic Growth, Agriculture, Energy, Health, and Peace & Security.”

Nigeria, being a big player in ECOWAS, is expected to benefit from the fresh deal with USAID.

Moreso, the USAID has been a frontline donor or financier in several projects within Nigeria.

The focus on Nigeria is due to its position as the largest national economy in sub-Saharan Africa  with an estimated population of over 214 million.

The United States confirmed providing nearly $1.2 billion in FY 2022 in foreign assistance resources to Nigeria —supporting economic development, education, democracy, health, energy and climate, humanitarian relief, security, and more.

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