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Spain and West African countries address common challenges and shared opportunities

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, inaugurates a seminar at which AECID and ECOWAS will advance in the design of a new cooperation programme.​​

March 16, 2023

“Spain and ECOWAS: common challenges, shared opportunities” is the title of the seminar to explore the areas and lines of action to strengthen the joint work of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and to advance in the design of a new cooperation programme for the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). 

During the inauguration of this seminar, which begins today in Madrid and will end tomorrow, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, stressed that “ECOWAS and its Member States are our natural partners, as we share challenges which, in a complex and shifting international and regional context, require a concerted response”.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Alieu Touray, is taking part along with Fatou Sou Sarr, Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs. Aside from the minister, various Spanish and ECOWAS authorities will also take part in the seminar, along with ambassadors accredited in Spain and leading figures from civil society. 

The dialogue will be structured in four segments, given over, respectively, to economic and inclusive development, peace and security, democracy and human rights and the knowledge and promotion of the Spanish language.

ECOWAS, which gathers together 15 countries in West Africa, is a strategically important organisation with which Spain maintains close cooperation relations. Accordingly, a work meeting will also be held during this event to advance in the design of the new cooperation programme between AECID and ECOWAS, with a view to launching a renewed and strengthened phase of collaboration between Spanish Cooperation and this organisation.​

In this regard, Minister José Manuel Albares already announced an initial contribution of 3 million euros during his visit to the headquarters of ECOWAS in Abuja (Nigeria) back in January. During the course of that visit, the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise political dialogue. 

Close cooperation

ECOWAS plays a very active role in the region, both in promoting stability, development and regional integration, and in the defence of democracy. Spain’s priority interest in ECOWAS is reflected in the broad cooperation programme with the organisation, based on the MoU signed in 2005 and developed in the Joint Declaration of 2009. 

Spain undertook to transfer resources for the sum of more than 230 million euros, of which 188 million have been paid out in the fields of agriculture, rural development, infrastructures, renewable energies, migration and gender.

ECOWAS gathers together the countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. At present, the member status of Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea-Conakry has been suspended.