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Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)

Official Website - http://www.ceeac-eccas.org

HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
At  a summit meeting in December 1981, the leaders of the Central African Customs  and Economic Union (UDEAC) agreed in principle to form a wider economic  community of Central African states. ECCAS was established on 18 October 1983  by the UDEAC members and the members of the Economic Community of the Great  Lakes States (CEPGL) (Burundi, Rwanda and the then Zaire) as well as Sao Tomé  and Principe. Angola remained an observer until 1999, when it became a full  member.

ECCAS  began functioning in 1985, but was inactive for several years because of  financial difficulties (non-payment of membership fees) and the conflict in the  Great Lakes area. The war in the DRC was particularly divisive, as Rwanda and  Angola fought on opposing sides. ECCAS has been designated a pillar of the  African Economic Community (AEC), but formal contact between the AEC and ECCAS  was only established in October 1999 due to the inactivity of ECCAS since 1992  (ECCAS signed the Protocol on Relations between the AEC and the Regional  Economic Communities in October 1999). The AEC again confirmed the importance  of ECCAS as the major economic community in Central Africa at the third  preparatory meeting of its Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in June 1999. 

Presided  over by President Pierre Buyoya of Burundi, the 2nd Extra-Ordinary Summit of  ECCAS was held in Libreville on 6 February 1998. The Heads of State/Government  present at the summit committed themselves to the resurrection of the  organisation. The Prime Minister of Angola also indicated that his country  would become a fully-fledged member.
 

The  summit approved a budget of 10 million French Francs for 1998 and requested the  Secretariat to:

Obtain  assistance from UNECA to evaluate the operational activities of the  secretariat; to evaluate the contributions due by member states; and the  salaries and salary structures of employees of the secretariat;
Convene  an extra-ordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers as soon as possible to  evaluate the recommendations of UNECA; the Council should then draw up  proposals for a new administrative structure for the secretariat and revised  contributions due by each member state.

The  summit also requested countries in the region to find lasting and peaceful  solutions to their political problems. The chairman also appealed to member  countries to support the complete lifting of the embargo placed on his country.

During  the inauguration of President Bongo of Gabon on 21 January 1999, a mini-summit  of ECCAS leaders was held. The leaders discussed problems concerning the  functioning of ECCAS and the creation of a third Deputy Secretary-General post,  designated for Angola. Angola formally joined the Community during this summit.

The  10th Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government took place in Malabo in  June 2002. This Summit decided to adopt a protocol on the establishment of a  Network of Parliamentarians of Central Africa (REPAC) and to adopt the standing  orders of the Council for Peace and Security in Central Africa (COPAX),  including the Defence and Security Commission (CDC), Multinational Force of  Central Africa (FOMAC) and the Early Warning Mechanism of Central Africa  (MARAC). Rwanda was also officially welcomed upon its return as a full member  of ECCAS.

The  11th Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government in Brazzaville during  January 2004 welcomed the fact that the Protocol Relating to the Establishment  of a Mutual Security Pact in Central Africa (COPAX) had received the required  number of ratifications to enter into force. The Summit also adopted a  declaration on the implementation of NEPAD in Central Africa as well as a  declaration on gender equality.