In a historic moment for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Memounatou Ibrahima of Togo has been elected as the first female Speaker in the history of the regional legislative body.

The landmark election took place during the 2024 Second Extraordinary Session of the Sixth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in Kano.

Ibrahima’s ascension to the speakership position is a significant milestone, underscoring ECOWAS’s commitment to gender equality and empowerment. Her selection was guided by the rotational principle established in the Supplementary Act on Enhancement of Power, which dictates the alphabetical rotation of speakership among member states. Notably, the position of the fifth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament was held by Sierra Leone.

Having served as the third Deputy Speaker in the fifth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament, Ibrahima brings extensive parliamentary experience to her new role. She has been an active participant in ECOWAS parliamentary affairs since 2021, contributing to regional deliberations and initiatives.

Ibrahima succeeds Senator Barau Jubrin of Nigeria, who assumed the position of First Deputy Speaker during the inauguration of the Sixth Legislature on April 4th, 2024. Senator Jubrin temporarily acted as the Speaker to prevent a leadership vacuum within the Community Parliament.

During the inauguration of the Sixth Legislature, the delegation from the Republic of Togo was notably absent due to pending elections in their country. Despite their absence, Ibrahima was presented as the unanimous choice for the speakership position by her parliamentary colleagues, leading to her election without opposition.

In a symbolic gesture, Ibrahima was officially handed the instrument of authority, the gavel, by Acting Speaker Senator Barau Jubrin.