The groundbreaking ceremony of the new ECOWAS Commission Headquarters has been performed in Abuja.
The event took place at the commencement of the 62nd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government in the Nigeria’s capital city.
The new headquarters project consists of a set of office buildings, comprising a central wing of ground floor plus 9 floors, framed by an east wing and a west wing (ground floor plus 7 floors) with a conference centre (ground floor plus 1 floor) and other buildings for maintenance, sports, care and bank. The project, which is being financed by the Chinese Government through ChinaAid is expected to be delivered in 26 months.
In his opening address at the commissioning, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Alieu Omar Touray said the present activities of the ECOWAS Commission are being carried out in three seperate buildings across Abuja, Nigeria, and as such the need for a new secretariat that would accommodate all its staff in one location towards increasing productivity and efficiency.
He thanked the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for giving the land covering an area of seven hectares in the Institutions and Research Area located along the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport road for the building project.
Touray added that in July 2019, the ECOWAS Commission signed an implementation agreement with the Chinese Government who provided technical and financial support for the construction of the headquarters whose groundbreaking ceremony is being held, and praised the Heads of State and Government across the region for the cooperation and support towards the project and promised to ensure the completion of the project within the timeline proposed.
The Chinese Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, Cui Jianchun said the government of China is keen on expanding diplomatic relations with Africa through support for construction projects like the new ECOWAS Commission heaquarters.
He said that new ECOWAS headquarters is the second interregional building to be sponsored by the Chinese government after the AU Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa. He highlighted the principle of sincerity, real results and mutual partnerships which form the fulcrum of China’s strategy in Africa towards commitment to great good and common interests.
He however stated that these buildings demonstrate China’s sincere determination to support the unity, peace and development of the African region along her efforts to promote the Belt and Road Initiative to support Africa’s infrastructure development programme.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the host of the 62rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government,in a brief remark, said it is a great day for ECOWAS-China partnership after the signing of the implementation agreement for the construction of the new ECOWAS Commission Headquarters.
He said the construction of the building represent China’s commitment to West Africa’s subregional bloc and an evidence of a strong and mutual cooperation between Africa and China, adding that the new complex represent the unity and brotherhood of ECOWAS Member States and signifies a re-commitment to regional integration and development of the countries in the sub-region.
He thanked the Chinese Government for their technical and financial support for the building of a modern and befitting complex to house the ECOWAS Commission, and also praised the previous and current management of the ECOWAS Commission for working in collaboration with Nigeria and China towards the realization of the project.
The Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS and President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, said it is an honour to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the new ECOWAS Commission headquarters.
He thanked the Governments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Peoples Republic of China for their contribution towards the realization of the building complex.
He said the new and modern headquarters will enable the staff of the ECOWAS Commission perform their duties better and provide a suitable working environment.