The President of the ECOWAS Investment Bank, Dr. George Agyekum Donkor, has called for the implementation of measures to give businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), a modicum of predictability and certainty when entering into international transactions.
He said regional economic integration would not be successful unless the legal challenges posed by doing business between countries, which made it difficult for the sub-region to attract investment, were resolved.
“The legal framework is at the heart of business risk calculations, making it a key factor in the success of business initiatives and long-term economic growth, and it is imperative that we develop solutions to the issues that plague it,” said Dr. Donkor.
Dr Donkor was speaking at an international conference organized by the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Praia, Cape Verde, to discuss the legal climate in the Community.
The virtual and in-person conference, which opens in Praia from Monday, May 9, 2022, will be held on the theme: “ECOWAS Integration Model: The Legal Implications of Regionalism, Sovereignty and Supranationalism”, will allow a panel of participants comprised of jurists and academics from ECOWAS Member States, ECOWAS institutions, international organizations and development partners to discuss the theme in seven sub-themes.
The conference aims to provide a platform to critically examine the legal environment for the implementation of the regional integration agenda, including the impact of regionalism, supranationalism and national sovereignties of member states on the process. of integration.
Dr Donkor said that while it had historically been difficult to coordinate the enforcement of judgments against debtors operating in multiple jurisdictions, the situation was further aggravated by the reluctance of some local authorities to apply the principles adopted by the Court of Justice from the community.
“Although EBID operates within the confines of the existing legal framework, with the assistance of well-vetted local lawyers for loan recovery purposes, shortcomings in the general legal infrastructure negatively impact the ability of the sub -region to attract investment,” he said.
Dr. Donkor called on stakeholders to consider developing existing treaties and protocols as tools to accelerate regional integration, particularly as part of efforts to promote trade under the Free Trade Area. African Continental Exchange (AfCFTA).
They should also champion initiatives that increase the incentive for countries to bring cases to the Community Court, particularly those involving international plaintiffs, and materialize efforts to equip local courts to enforce judgments of the ECOWAS Court of Justice through the through legislation in different jurisdictions around the world.
ECOWAS Member States.
Dr. Donkor also urged Member States to be convinced of the value of supranational policies and structures to promote cooperation and economic development.