The ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit coming up on 25th October 2013 in Dakar, the Senegalese capital will be focusing mainly on economic issues including the finalization of the Common External Tariff (CET), the Community Integration Levy (CIL) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between West Africa and the European Union.

After opening statements by President of the host country, Macky Sall, the Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, current Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, the meeting will go into closed-door sessions to consider the Commission President’s memorandum on the consolidation of the regional market and the report of the last Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers. At that Council meeting held on 30th September 2013 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, the Ministers made a number of recommendations to regional leaders, particularly on regional monetary cooperation, the EPA negotiations and the ECOWAS CET.

On the CET, they adopted a Community Regulation on supplementary protection measures with an import adjustment tax and a supplementary protection tax. The ministers also agreed on a five-year transitional period for the application of the import adjustment tax and the implementation of the CET from 1st January 2015, with provision for its annual assessment.

They recommended that the status quo be maintained on the community levy for a five-year transitional period, during which a study would be conducted with a view to reaching a convergence on a single rate and a uniform scope. Council equally recommended that necessary measures be taken for effective implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and for an annual evaluation of the scheme.

On the EPA negotiations, the ministers authorized the West African negotiators to continue discussions with the European Union on the basis of a new market access offer. They urged both sides to reach compromises on all the outstanding issues bearing in mind the development imperatives of West Africa. Council further called on ECOWAS Member States to take all necessary measures for the creation of the second West African Monetary Zone as soon as possible and recommended that a Head of State be designated to drive the process.

The Dakar Extraordinary Summit is also expected to discuss other regional monetary cooperation matters and other topical issues, particularly the political situations in Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea.