Economic Community of West African States


African 'elephant' wants to block trade talks

Staff Reporter

Europe's trade chief accused Nigeria and South Africa on Monday of trying to block negotiations for new trade and investment deals between the European Union and scores of former colonies. The EU wants to sign new Economic Partnership Agreements with nearly 80 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries before December 31.

West Africa to miss EU trade partnership deadline

Peter Murphy

West Africa will miss a December 31 deadline to sign a new trade partnership with the European Union and hopes to keep its preferential commercial privileges for up to two years while it negotiates. Ministers from the Economic Community of West African States were meeting on Friday in Côte d'Ivoire to agree a common approach ahead of talks later this month with the EU.

West African military chiefs denounce Africom

Jonathan Paye-Layleh

West African military chiefs have charged that the United States has failed to consult adequately with countries that will be affected by a planned American military command for Africa. The group said the plan "had not been fully understood" by African countries.

Observers clear Benin's elections

Staff Reporter

Local and municipal elections in Benin passed off without evidence of fraud but with some functional problems, the head of a regional observer team said on Wednesday. The leader of the monitors from the Economic Community of West African States singled out in particular the lack of ballot papers and other materials.

Sierra Leone hopes to 'downsize' army

Staff Reporter

Sierra Leone's military chiefs are working on means to downsize from its current 10 000 soldiers to 8 500, Defence Minister Palo Conteh said on Friday, according to a state radio report. "We cannot allow a large army ...We have to downsize to a lean army that can react quickly to a given situation," he said.

Togo elections free and fair, say monitors

Staff Reporter

Landmark weekend parliamentary elections in Togo were "free, fair and open", observers from the Economic Community of West African States concluded in a report on Tuesday. "In spite of a few shortfalls, the legislative elections on Sunday were free, fair and open," stated the 15-nation group.

Togo hopes polls will restore democracy, aid

John Zodzi

Togo holds parliamentary elections on Sunday that, if free and fair, could convince international donors that the small West African state has fully embraced democratic rule. The European Union, once Togo's biggest donor, froze most aid to the former French colony in 1993.

Western monitors barred from Zim poll

Fanuel Jongwe

European Union member states and the United States have been excluded from a list of observers who will be invited to monitor the March 29 general elections in Zimbabwe, the government announced on Friday. The only European country that had been invited to send monitors was Russia, while the Commonwealth was also left off the invitation list.

Zimbabwe invites 47 teams to observe election

Staff Reporter

Zimbabwe has invited 47 regional and sub-regional organisations as well as countries from Africa, Asia, the Americas and one European country -- Russia -- to observe this month's election, the government mouthpiece Herald reported on Friday.

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