By Temitope Ponle
The ECOWAS Parliament has urged member states to support Morocco’s request to be part of the regional bloc.
Speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, Moustapha Cisse Lo, at the First Ordinary Session of the parliament on Thursday, said that Morocco’s membership would promote the development of the region.
Cisse Lo said that the parliament would discuss Morocco’s integration in the West African Community.
“Parliamentary diplomacy is part of our mission between national and regional parliament and that is why we are even in discussion with countries outside of ECOWAS.
“Of course, we want Africa to be united and prosperous, but you cannot but work with neighbouring countries and even with people or countries outside of Morocco, and that is the case with Morocco.
“I believe that Africa should speak with one voice; we are in a global economy.
“I also do not agree that we should not involve Morocco in what we are doing, because they are very much ahead of ECOWAS; I am of the opinion that we should cooperate with them because by doing that we all will win.”
First Deputy Speaker of the parliament and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun, however, said that Nigeria had not changed its stance to refuse Morocco’s membership of the bloc.
“Everything is not about politics, more important is that a government that refuses to think about the economic aspect of life is doomed.
“We have not changed our stance and that is why it will probably take a long time before such a feat can be achieved.”
In his address, Mr Rachid El Abdi, Deputy Speaker, Morocco’s House of Representatives said regional integration was important to the development of nations.
El Abdi also said that his country promoted a win-win approach and mutual respect in its relations with other countries.
“Regional integration is fundamental and an underlying tool for development; ECOWAS has the pillars of a regional community.
“A free trade zone in West Africa is possible through active intelligence and the leadership of members states.”
The Authority of Heads of State and Government in its 52nd Ordinary Session in Dec. 2017 decided to set up a Committee of Heads of State to revise a study on the implications of Morocco’s membership. (NAN)