The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, is taking over the chairmanship of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

He was elected at the 47th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of Ecowas held in Accra.

Ghana’s president John Mahama is handing over to him.

The Summit ended in Ghana on Tuesday with several recommendations on various issues, including the end of tenure of some statutory appointees of the ECOWAS Commission, the expiry of the 3rd Parliamentary term of the Community Parliament, the Community Levy, and the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET).

On the tenure of some statutory appointees, Council set up a five-member Ad hoc Committee comprising Cape Verde, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea and Senegal, to propose modalities and submit report to Council at its next extraordinary session scheduled for the first week of July 2015.An Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government on this issue will then be held in the first week of August 2015.

On the Community Parliament, Council recommended that the Authority of Heads of State and Government allow a transition period of five months to enable the new Parliament begin on 1st January 2016.

Council also suggested the effective and harmonized implementation of the Community Levy to enable all Member States to comply with the provisions of the relevant Protocol. It also proposed that National Monitoring Committees be set up for the implementation of the Community Levy by Member States.

The ECOWAS Commission is also urged to follow the model of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) with a view to improving the implementation of the Community Levy Protocol.

Regarding the CET, which entered into force in January this year, the Commission indicated that as at 30 April 2015, only eight Member States had started the implementation, namely, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo, with the remaining seven countries, lagging behind due to various reasons, such as legal requirements, public health and other technical considerations.

Council commended the eight Member States and urged the remaining seven to take the necessary steps to ensure effective implementation of the CET before the end of the year in accordance with the decision of the Authority of Heads of State and Government.

Council also adopted several reports including that of the ECOWAS Ministers responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs, the Memorandum on the Adoption of the Abidjan Declaration on the Eradication of Statelessness in West Africa, the Report on the 5th Statutory Meeting of Ministers of Culture and that of the 4th Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Security, as well as the accompanying Memorandum on the Community Development Programme (CDP).

The Financial Controller’s 2014 Annual Report and the 2015 Interim Report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, were also adopted by the Council.

The President’s report provided a comprehensive update on the status of implementation of the Community’s work programme from November 2014 to May 2015. It also highlighted major challenges and prospects for the region, stressing recent economic trends in West Africa within the global economic context as well as the prospects and potential challenges of the regional economic integration process.

Closing the session, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and current Council Chair, Mrs. Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, thanked her colleagues for their fruitful contributions, which enabled Council to achieve relevant results.