MONROVIA, May 5 (LINA) -The 23rd Ordinary Summit of the Mano River Union (MRU) has ended in the Guinean capital, Conakry, with the Heads of State and Government agreeing on several measures aimed at improving the lives of the people of member States.
Member States also agreed to maintain border security, infrastructural development, youth employment and economic integration.
According to an Executive Mansion release, in a Communiqué issued at the end of the Summit, the MRU leaders recognized and agreed to implement a cross-border security strategy with a commitment to operationalize the Peace and Security Unit within the MRU Secretariat.
They also agreed to immediately create the Gbalamuya-Pamelap Joint Border Post between Sierra Leone and Guinea as part of the Border Security Strategy.
The Communiqué commended the Government of Côte d’Ivoire that is expected to host a donor conference aimed at mobilizing resources for the cross-border project.
They have requested the MRU Secretariat to engage the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the UN Office in West Africa (UNOWA) on the execution of the conference.
On infrastructural development, the MRU leaders agreed to encourage private sector collaboration in pursuit of financing capital for intensive projects, including roads, energy and information technology, among others. They also agreed to develop projects directed at renewable energy resources.
The Summit further reviewed and approved a plan to engage the African Development Bank group through a formal letter of request to help finance key road connectivity linked to the Trans-West Africa Highway.
On youth employment efforts, all the four countries expressed serious concern about the future of the young people in the Member States.
In addressing unemployment, the MRU leaders announced the creation of the Center of Excellence in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire in support of its Regional Youth Employment Program.
At the Center, youth will gain knowledge in a variety of disciplines that will prepare them for multi-tasking in future job markets.
In the area of sub-regional economic reintegration, the MRU Chief Executives instructed the Secretariat to constructively engage the China Exim Bank for possible financing of the Makona Economic Free Zone.
The Makona River divides Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and forms a convergence of three of the four countries within the Union.
The Summit also encouraged the reactivation of the Air Mano project and requested the Ministers of Transport of Member States to continue the finalization of the feasibility study in order to speed up the launching of the airline.
Food security was also a priority issue for the 23rd Ordinary Summit with a commendation of progress made so far during the implementation of the Food Security Project in each of the Member States.
They encouraged Governments to maintain the dynamic trend for the attainment of food self-sufficiency in the MRU basin.
At the end of the 23rd Summit, the MRU leaders announced an approved budget of US$5.9 million, authorizing the Secretariat to execute it accordingly.
During the Summit, the Heads of State and Government agreed to finance the construction of the headquarters of the MRU upon the submission of the completed architectural design and costing.
The MRU leaders expressed grave concern about the prevailing situation in the Central African Republic and called on national leaders, Africa and the international community to take urgent action towards restoring unity and preserving the integrity of the Republic.
In attendance were host President Dr. Alpha Conde of Guinea, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Sierra Leonean President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. Ivorian President Dr. Alassane Ouattara was represented by Ivoirian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Charles Kofi Diby.