The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China for a grant of $31.6 million towards the construction of the Commission's proposed new headquarters building project.
A statement issued by the Commission to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday said the ECOWAS Commission President, Mr Jean-Claude Brou and the Ambassador of China to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Zhou Pingjian signed for both parties in a bilateral meeting held at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters, Abuja on Wednesday.
It said Mr Brou expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for the grant saying it was a mark of goodwill from the Asian country to ECOWAS and then further expressed the region’s Commitment to foster the ECOWAS-China cooperation.
According to Mr Brou, the need for a new building for ECOWAS was necessitated by increasing number of staff, which led to the Commission to presently operate from three buildings distantly apart from each other.
Mr Brou urged the design team to ensure that the building had an architecture that reflected the culture and ‘Africaness’ of ECOWAS Member States.
He was also thankful for China’s readiness to maintain the building for three years after completion.
Ambassador Pingjian on his part reaffirmed China’s commitment to continue promoting the China-ECOWAS friendly cooperation through similar economic and technical cooperation, saying that, China values the cooperation and stands “ready to nurture this relationship” by the construction of the ECOWAS Headquarters.
Mr Pingjian assured ECOWAS that the construction will be of high quality that will take into consideration the cultural biases of the region.
The agreement, which comes into force with immediate effect, would cater for offices and conference complex building, as well as road facilities, electrical equipment, parking lots and security posts within the proposed site of the project.
The design team is expected to start work immediately for the project, which was initiated in 2012 in line with the aspirations of Member countries.
An ECOWAS designated authority and the China Development Bank Corporation would work together to verify records of account payments at regular intervals.
The Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mrs Finda Koroma, some Commissioners of the ECOWAS Commission as well as the Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Mr Zhao Linxiang were also in attendance at the signing ceremony of the MoU for ECOWAS and China respectively.