Ecowas elects Gambian diplomat Omar Touray as president

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Outgoing Ecowas Commission president Jean-Claude Kassi Brou during a virtual summit on September 8, 2021. New Commission president Omar Touray will start his term in 2022. PHOTO | COURTESY | ECOWAS

The Economic Community of West African States has elected Gambian diplomat Omar Touray as Ecowas Commission president.

Dr Omar Touray was elected at the just concluded Extraordinary Session of the Ecowas Council of Ministers on Institutional Reform in the Ghanian capital, Accra, said a statement issued by the Gambian presidency and published on Thursday. His term will run from 2022-2026.

Dr Touray will be the first Gambian to hold the top position at the Commission, and will replace Ivorian Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, who assumed the rotational position in March 2018.

Ecowas, a 15-member sub regional bloc, was founded in 1975 as a vehicle for regional integration. The Ecowas Commission is one of two main institutions within the body, alongside the Ecowas Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).

The Commission is the Executive arm of the Community, and the President is appointed by the Authority of Heads of State for a non-renewable period of four years.

The Accra meeting, which was held on October 5, is part of an ongoing reform by the bloc which started since 1993 with the revision of its founding treaty. In 2007, the executive arm was transformed from an Executive Secretariat to a Commission, and in 2013 its departments were expanded.

Dr Touray will be the sixth person to hold the position since 2007, following its transformation to a Commission.

The statement from the presidency in Banjul hailed it as a recognition of the importance of the smallest nation on continent at international level.

“President Adama Barrow received the news today with delight,” the statement says, adding that Gambia has “gained more respect among its peers in the sub-region since he came to office in 2017.”

The development also comes as Gambia heads for general elections this December, when Barrow will be seeking a second term.

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