Ghana became the sixth ECOWAS Member State to designate the competent national authority for the enforcement of the decisions of the Community Court of Justice after President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday, 21st October 2019 announced the office of the Attorney General as the competent national authority for the enforcement of decisions of the Court.

Opening the 2019 international conference of the Court in Accra, the President decried as ‘unfortunate,’ a situation where only five of the 15 Member States- Burkina Faso, Guinea, Nigeria, Mali and Togo- have appointed their national authority that has the responsibility for the receipt, processing and enforcement of the decisions of the Court in accordance with their Rules of Civil Procedure.

He assured that the ‘necessary amendments of our municipal laws will be made to enable the designation to be effective,’ and charged other Member States that have not done so ‘to act quickly to do the same.’

The President also bemoaned the absence of a regional visionary leadership driven by a regional vision and not on the narrow interest of individual countries to drive West Africa’s integration. He said such a leadership will undertake the necessary initiatives for transforming the region in order to make regional integration ‘real’ to the citizens and enable the region replicate the kind of economic prosperity enjoyed by Europeans through the European Union integration project.

He pledged to ‘do whatever I can to strengthen ECOWAS Community,’ noting the imperative for the leaders to demonstrate the strong political necessary to transform the ‘region into an economic and political success and make the project of integration real, especially at the dawn of the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area.’

‘ The European Union took off because the political leadership of France and Germany decided to make it work (and) once the political will is evident, we can then work together to make ECOWAS a true regional Community,” the President told participants at the four-day conference.

‘ While the EU is central to the lives of Europeans, ECOWAS is still, somewhat peripheral to the lives of most West Africans and it is not for lack of plans or even rules and regulations but simply that the political will to make integration real has been less evident than in Europe,’ he emphasized

In the absence of the requisite regional leadership, the President said the implementation of plans to bring progress and prosperity to the 350 million ECOWAS citizens ‘have been left to well-meaning technocrats and bureaucrats,’ who are not substitutes for a visionary political leadership and therefore cannot make the requisite bold transforming changes required in the Community.

The time has come, he added, for ‘those who believe in regional integration to give enthusiastic support to Community decisions and inspire confidence and integrity in the structural organs of ECOWAS, such as the ECOWAS Court of Justice as our people deserve no less,’ as this is the only way ensure that the dream of prosperity will be within our grasp.

Consequently, President Akufo-Addo called for the empowerment of the Court to play its role as the principal legal organ of the Community while Member States should be encouraged to refer questions of the interpretation of the Revised Treaty and other Community Texts to the Court in order to ensure uniformity in the interpretation of Treaty and the other texts.

The President therefore charged the delegates to the conference to make recommendations to expedite regional integration that mainstreams the rule of law, promotes democracy and good governance as well as provide an enabling legal environment for the integration of the Community including the necessary normative framework and a regional dispute resolution mechanism.