By Our Correspondent
The construction of the permanent headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) began on Sunday in Abuja, Nigeria.
The NewsZenith reports that the project, which will cost $32 million, is being aided by the Chinese Government.
The ECOWAS building will consolidate the regional bloc’s operations in one complex — a departure from the currently operating at three locations in Abuja.
ECOWAS LEADERS ATTEND THE GROUNDBREAKING
At least three West African leaders performed the groundbreaking ceremony to formally commence the construction of the new headquarters.
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The leaders are Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and his counterparts from Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone.
Also in attendance were President of the ECOWAS Commission Omar Alieu Touray and Chinese ambassador to Nigeria Cui Jianchun.
Buhari described the project as “a symbol of China’s commitment to ECOWAS”.
He said that when completed, the building would house the three major institutions of the regional bloc including the ECOWAS Secretariat, the Community Court of Justice, and the ECOWAS Parliament.
NEW BUILDING TO SERVE AS RALLYING POINT FOR ECOWAS OPERATIONS
Buhari said the project, would be “our home and a regional rallying point”.
“It will also represent the unity and brotherhood of the member states.”
It will also signify a re-commitment to progress and regional integration.
“The groundbreaking ceremony marked a very significant day in the history of ECOWAS,” ECOWAS Commission boss, Touray said.
He expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for the gesture to the regional bloc.
He said the new headquarters would enable the ECOWAS Commission to accommodate all its staff in one location.
“It will further result in operational efficiencies, reduced costs and increased productivity.”
“To sponsor and construct the new ECOWAS headquarters is a vivid reflection of China’s support to the work of ECOWAS and the traditional friendship between China and the West African countries,” Jianchun said.
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