SPEECH OF H.E AMBASSADOR GILBERTO DA PIEDADE VERÍSSIMO, PRESIDENT OF THE ECCAS COMMISSION, AT THE OPENING OF THE FIRST RETIREMENT OF THE ECCAS COMMISSION, OCTOBER 13, 2020

October 17, 2020

EXCELLENCY, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE GABONESE REPUBLIC;

EXCELLENCY, THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL FOR CENTRAL AFRICA;

EXCELLENCIES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN AMBASSADORS OF ECCAS MEMBER STATES;

EXCELLENCIES, MADAME THE EUROPEAN UNION REPRESENTATIVE FOR CENTRAL AFRICA;

EXCELLENCY, MADAME VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE COMMISSION;

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THE COMMISSIONERS;

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN;

First of all, I would like to thank you for taking your time to attend the opening of the work of the very first retreat of the ECCAS Commission since taking office on September 1, 2020.

Your presence in these places testifies to your interest in the development of our Community, including the recent institutional reform, led by our Heads of State and Government and led by His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic and current President of ECCAS, opens the way to a total revitalization, bearer of hope for the quest for peace, development and prosperity for the citizens of Central Africa.

The Commission, which is the executive body of the Community, is called upon to play an essential role in achieving this prospect.

As such, it falls to it on the one hand, the mission of setting up and operationalizing the institutions of the new Community and on the other hand, that of developing and proposing to the Member States a Community project in line with their expectations and even to make felt, both in Central Africa and at continental and international level, the impact of an invigorated, dynamic, innovative and ambitious organization, capable of fully assuming its regional missions and contributing to the achievement of integration objectives and development of the African continent.

This mission is generally the responsibility of all Commission staff, elected officials and civil servants without exclusion, under the leadership and direction of the new board made up of the President, the Vice-President and its five Commissioners.

It is aware of this heavy responsibility that I have developed a forward-looking vision which is called to be deepened and enriched within the framework of this retreat.

This vision is that of a common future in an environment of peace, security and stability, supported by sustainable development and good governance, in order to ensure the citizens of the community, better living conditions in freedom and Justice.

Based on this vision, over the next five years we will be responsible for promoting:

  • – Political cooperation, peace and security as prerequisites for the region to reach a state of integration which generates its harmonious socio-economic development;
  • – The process of integration of the economies and societies of the Member States;
  • – The development of formal mechanisms for social integration between populations;
  • – The physical integration which ensures the feeling of common space, concretizes the establishment of the common market in the regional space, as well as the free movement of people, goods and services;
  • – The implementation or development of common regional or continental standards in terms of good governance, respect and protection of human rights;
  • – The emergence of the Community in the international system as a credible regional actor for the consolidation of peace and security and a reliable partner in the process of building the world economy.

Indeed, long perceived from inside and outside as the weak link in the continental development and integration process, ECCAS must, at the end of its reform, occupy its position and deserve it. Strategic in the heart of Africa and in the world. Such an ambition is by no means unrealistic in view of the immense natural resources that make Central Africa the main nourishing breast of the global technology industry. She is not a pipe dream either, considering the quality of her human potential.She is not a pipe dream either, considering the quality of her human potential.

 How to move from vision to the achievement of objectives?

Therein lies the whole issue of the reflection to which I invite the participants to this retreat.

The following topics for reflection will be at the center of our discussions:

– The projection of a medium-term strategic plan, (the time of our five-year mandate);

– The design of a work program for the year 2021 and a mechanism for evaluating its implementation;

– The roadmap for the operationalization of the bodies and structures created by the revised Treaty.

The recent past of ECCAS is that of an organization that rarely has the necessary funds for the functioning of its institutions and the implementation of its programs. For regular funding of the Community budget, the Member States must be convinced of the relevance and desirability of the programs proposed or being implemented. That is why all of our actions must be directed towards concrete results.

The Commission must indeed adapt to results-oriented management and equip itself with the appropriate means for monitoring and evaluating the effective implementation of its projects.

There will be no room for routine activities. Each initiative must be motivated by a specific objective. To this end, the Departments must, on the basis of the guidelines given by the Conferences of Heads of State and Government of ECCAS, prepare and submit each year for their inclusion in the budget year, all programs falling within their competence. These programs should be detailed so as to show their relevance, opportunity, feasibility, conditions for their execution and the probable duration of their completion.

In this regard, Commission staff, both elected officials and appointed officials, are expected to demonstrate commitment, professionalism, moral and intellectual probity, honesty, rigor and loyalty to – opinion of the Community and the institutions which animate it.

No laxity will be accepted. The deadlines and the quality of the execution of the tasks will be taken into account in the staff evaluation process.

In addition, they will have to conform to the requirements of teamwork, which presupposes frank and total collaboration, active solidarity and a high sense of collective responsibility.

Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen,

On a completely different level, the Commission will strive to better harmonize its interactions with the African Union Commission and the Executives of other Regional Economic Communities in accordance with the 2008 Memorandum of Understanding, governing relations between the RECs and the African Union and among the RECs. These relations are supported by the principles of complementarity and subsidiarity. The reform of the African Union further placed particular emphasis on the need for the Continental Organization and the RECs to carry out a rational division of labor in order to foster the emergence of a common planning system and effective synergy in the implementation of the various projects.

Cooperation with the RECs is all the more essential for ECCAS as it is neighboring with all the RECs and is therefore involved in crisis situations affecting other regions.

Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the place for me to launch a vibrant appeal to all our Member States for their membership and their support for our efforts to strengthen the capacities of the Commission.

Likewise, we will expect our partners to continue to assist ECCAS in complying with its guidelines, for the promotion of integration in Central Africa and the pursuit of development objectives.

We are committed to working for a visible ECCAS due to its readability, credibility and usefulness for the people of the region of Central Africa, the African continent and the world.

I thank you for your kind attention.