Economic Community Of West African States

The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional group of fifteen countries, founded in 1975. Its mission is to promote economic integration in “all fields of economic activity, particularly industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, social and cultural matters. 

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About Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS)

  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was established on May 28 1975 via the treaty of Lagos
  • It is a 15-member regional group with a mandate of promoting economic integration in all fields of activity of the constituting countries
  • The Vision of ECOWAS is the creation of a borderless region where the population has access to its abundant resources and is able to exploit same through the creation of opportunities under a sustainable environment
  • ECOWAS can be divided into two sub-regional blocs:
    • West African Economic and Monetary Union – established in 1994
    • West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) – established in 2000
  • ECOWAS is meant to be a region governed in accordance with the principles of democracy, rule of law and good governance
  • The member countries of ECOWAS comprises: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo

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ECOWAS – Institutions and Specialised Agencies

Given below is a list of Institutions which combine to form ECOWAS:

  1. Authority of Heads of States and Government
  2. Commission, The Community Parliament
  3. Community Court of Justice, Council of Ministers
  4. Specialised Technical Committees
  5. ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID)

Given below is a list of Specialised Agencies, ECOWAS is made up of:

  1. West African Health Organisation (WAHO)
  2. West African Monetary Agency (WAMA)
  3. Inter-governmental Action Group against Money Laundary and Terrorist Financing in West Africa (GIABA)
  4. ECOWAS Gender and Development Centre
  5. ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre
  6. ECOWAS Water Resources Coordination Centre
  7. West African Power Pool
  8. ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE)
  9. ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA)
  10. ECOWAS Infrastructure Projects Preparation and Development Unit (PPDU)
  11. ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme
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Objectives of ECOWAS

Discussed below are the objectives with which ECOWAS was established:

  • All Member states to be treated equally and to ensure interdependency among each state
  • Cooperative and harmonised livelihood of people living in regions of member states
  • Maintenance of regional peace, stability and security
  • To ensure social and economic justice to each citizen of all the member states
  • To manage a non-aggressive relation between the member states
  • Promotion of human rights 
  • Just and equal distribution of the costs and benefits of economic co-operation and integration

Background of Economic Community of West African States

Until ECOWAS was established, West Africa was divided into different regions that came out of colonial experiences and administrations. Multiple regional languages were spoken in this area which after colonisation were limited to English, Portuguese and French.

The biggest challenge for the citizens of these areas was to promote the economic and social development of West Africa. Thus, to rebuild the cultural, linguistic and ecological diversity for integration purposes and the first effort regarding the same was made in 1945.

Then in 1964, an economic union for West Africa was proposed by Liberian President William Tubman. It was in 1975 that ECOWAS was established. 

ECOWAS Vision 2020

In June 2007, ECOWAS Vision 2020 was adopted by the Authorities to set a clear direction and goal to significantly raise the standard of living of the people through conscious and inclusive programmes that will guarantee a bright future for West Africa. 

Vision 2020 is a people-centred and people-driven plan for the development of political, social and economic development of the people o Africa. 

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Frequently Asked Questions on Economic Community Of West African States

Q 1. Why was the Economic Community of West African States established?

Ans. To promote economic cooperation, economic development and the living standards of the people in the member states, the Economic Community of West African States was established. It is a 15-member regional group with a mandate of promoting economic integration.

Q 2. Who are the members of the Economic Community Of West African States?

Ans. Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo are the member states of ECOWAS.

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