President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo, has been named as the new Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS).

The announcement which was made at the 61st Ordinary Session (ECOWAS Summit) held in Accra, Ghana on Sunday, followed after President Embalo won unanimously to succeed Nana Akufo-Addo, the current President of Ghana, and outgoing Chairman of ECOWAS.

Prior to his new role in the regional bloc, President Embalo survived a coup d’etat in February 2021. The intended ousting also led to the establishment of standby forces, comprising of troops from different member states of ECOWAS; totalling up to 609. The move was aimed at ensuring and maintaining stability in Guinea Bissau.

Outgoing ECOWAS Chairman, President Akufo-Addo, confirmed the completion of troops deployment during his opening speech. He further confirmed the election of Embalo, his successor.

‘In a unanimous election, the authority of heads of state of ECOWAS elected Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo, president of Guinea Bissau, as the new chairman.’

Whilst speaking on his new role in the regional bloc, President Embalo touched on the importance of total commitment in ensuring peace and stability is maintained in West Africa. He also tweeted to this effect following his emergence as Chairman.

‘Despite the challenges that we are faced with as a result of violent extremism and the current global crisis, I believe, the solidarity within ECOWAS will enable us to overcome these challenges,’ he said.

‘Happy to have been elected to the presidency of ECOWAS. It is a great honor and a sign of confidence in Guinea-Bissau.. Warm thanks to my peers. The challenges are important and we must give the best of us,’ tweeted Embalo.

With the spate of terrorism and extremities in West Africa at the moment, Embalo will look to tackle insecurity within the region during his tenure. There are also strong hopes that Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, who are currently operating a military government, will once again experience constitutional leadership.

President Embalo will serve a one-year tenure in office after succeeding Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, who served two terms as ECOWAS Chairman.

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