World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Economic Community of West African States

Economic Community of West African States
  • Communauté économique des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest  (French)
  • Comunidade Económica dos Estados da África Ocidental  (Portuguese)
Flag Emblem
Headquarters Abuja, Nigeria
Official languages
 -  Chairman John Dramani Mahama
 -  President of the Commission Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo
 -  Speaker of the Parliament Ike Ekweremadu
 -  Treaty of Lagos 28 May 1975[1] 
 -  Total 5,112,903 km2 (7th)
1,974,103 sq mi
 -  2013 estimate 340,000,000 (4th)
 -  Density 49.2/km2
127.5/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2013 estimate
 -  Total US$ 1,322 billion [2] (18th)
 -  Per capita US$ 3,888[3]
GDP (nominal) estimate
 -  Total $ 675 Billion[4] 2013
 -  Per capita $ 1,985
Time zone (UTC+0 to +1)
a. If considered as a single entity.
b. To be replaced by the eco in 2015.
c. Liberia and Sierra Leone have expressed an interest in joining the eco.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS; French: Communauté économique des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest, CEDEAO) is a regional group of fifteen West African countries. Founded on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, its mission is to promote economic integration across the region.

Considered one of the pillars of the French, English, and Portuguese.

The ECOWAS consists of two institutions to implement policies—the ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, formerly known as the Fund for Cooperation until it was renamed in 2001.

A few members of the organization have come and gone over the years. In 1976 Cape Verde joined ECOWAS, and in December 2000 Mauritania withdrew, having announced its intention to do so in December 1999.


  • Members 1
    • Former members 1.1
  • Structure 2
    • President of the Commission, current and former 2.1
    • Chairmen 2.2
    • Regional security cooperation 2.3
    • Expanded ECOWAS Commission 2.4
    • The Community Court of Justice 2.5
    • Sporting and cultural exchange 2.6
  • Economic integration 3
    • West African Economic and Monetary Union 3.1
      • Membership 3.1.1
    • West African Monetary Zone 3.2
      • Membership 3.2.1
  • Transport 4
  • Controversies 5
    • NSA surveillance 5.1
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


 Burkina Faso
 Cape Verde
 Ivory Coast
 Sierra Leone

Former members

 Mauritania, withdrew in December 2000


President of the Commission, current and former

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the African Union

From 1977 to 2006 the post name was Executive Secretary

From the restructuring


Regional security cooperation

The ECOWAS nations assigned a non-aggression protocol in 1990 along with two earlier agreements in 1978 and 1981. They also signed a Protocol on Mutual Defence Assistance in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 29 May 1981, that provided for the establishment of an Allied Armed Force of the Community.[6]

Expanded ECOWAS Commission

For the third time since its inception in 1975, ECOWAS is undergoing institutional reforms. The first was when it revised its treaty on 24 July 1993; the second was in 2007, when the Secretariat was transformed into a Commission. As of July 2013, ECOWAS now has six new departments (Human Resources Management; Education, Science and Culture; Energy and Mines; Telecommunications and IT; Industry and Private Sector Promotion. Finance and Administration to Sierra Leone has been decoupled, to give the incoming Ghana Commissioner the new portfolio of Administration and Conferences)[7]

The Community Court of Justice

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice was created by a protocol signed in 1991 and was later included in Article 6 of the Revised Treaty of the Community in 1993.[8] However, the Court did not officially begin operations until the 1991 protocol came into effect on 5 November 1996. The jurisdiction of the court is outlined in Article 9 and Article 76 of the Revised Treaty and allows rulings on disputes between states over interpretations of the Revised Treaty. It also provides the ECOWAS Council with advisory opinions on legal issues (Article 10). Like its companion courts the European Court of Human Rights and East African Court of Justice, it has jurisdiction to rule on fundamental human rights breaches.[8]

Sporting and cultural exchange

ECOWAS nations organize a broad array of cultural and sports event under the auspices of the body, including the CEDEAO Cup in football, the 2012 ECOWAS Games and the Miss CEDEAO beauty pageant.[9]

Economic integration

West African Economic and Monetary Union

  ECOWAS only (Cape Verde)

The West African Economic and Monetary Union (also known as UEMOA from its name in Francophone) member state.

UEMOA is a customs union and currency union between the members of ECOWAS. Its objectives include the following:[10]

  • Greater economic competitiveness, through open markets, in addition to the rationalization and harmonization of the legal environment
  • The convergence of macro-economic policies and indicators
  • The creation of a common market
  • The coordination of sectoral policies
  • The harmonization of fiscal policies

Among its achievements, the UEMOA has successfully implemented macro-economic convergence criteria and an effective surveillance mechanism. It has adopted a customs union and common external tariff and has combined indirect taxation regulations, in addition to initiating regional structural and sectoral policies. A September 2002 IMF survey cited the UEMOA as "the furthest along the path toward integration" of all the regional groupings in Africa.[11]

ECOWAS and UEMOA have developed a common plan of action on trade liberalization and macroeconomic policy convergence. The organizations have also agreed on common rules of origin to enhance trade, and ECOWAS has agreed to adopt UEMOA’s customs declaration forms and compensation mechanisms.[12]


West African Monetary Zone

Formed in 2000, the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) is a group of six countries within ECOWAS that plan to introduce a common currency, the Liberia who joined on 16 February 2010. Apart from Guinea, which is Francophone, they are all English speaking countries. Along with Mauritania, Guinea opted out of the CFA franc currency shared by all other former French colonies in West and Central Africa.

The WAMZ attempts to establish a strong stable currency to rival the CFA franc, whose exchange rate is tied to that of the Euro and is guaranteed by the French Treasury. The eventual goal is for the CFA franc and Eco to merge, giving all of West and Central Africa a single, stable currency. The launch of the new currency is being developed by the West African Monetary Institute based in Accra, Ghana.



A Trans-ECOWAS project, established in 2007, plans to upgrade railways in this zone.[16]


NSA surveillance

Documents of United Nations Development Programme, the UN's children's charity UNICEF and Médecins Sans Frontières.[17]

See also


  1. ^ African Union
  2. ^ Data. "GDP, PPP (current international $) | Data | Table". Retrieved 2014-08-08. 
  3. ^ Data. "GNI per capita, PPP (current international $) | Data | Table". Retrieved 2014-08-08. 
  4. ^ Data. "GDP (current US$) | Data | Table". Retrieved 2014-08-08. 
  5. ^ Adeyemi, Segun (6 August 2003). "West African Leaders Agree on Deployment to Liberia". Jane's Defence Weekly. 
  6. ^ "Profile: Economic Community of West African States". Africa Union. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Bensah, Emmanuel K. (2013-07-24). "Communicating the ECOWAS Message (4): A New Roadmap for the Ouedraogo Commission(1)". Retrieved 2014-08-08. 
  8. ^ a b ECOWASInformation Manual: The Institutions of the CommunityECOWAS (2007)
  9. ^ "Miss ECOWAS 2010". The Economist. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  10. ^ [1] REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND COOPERATION IN WEST AFRICA A Multidimensional Perspective, Chapter 1. Introduction: Reflections on an Agenda for Regional Integration and Cooperation in West Africa
  11. ^ “Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)” fact sheet from the US Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs
  12. ^ “Annual Report on Integration in Africa 2002” All Africa, 1 March 2002
  13. ^ "Common West Africa currency: ECO in 2015". MC Modern Ghana. 
  14. ^ "The Supplementary Wamz Payment System Development Project the Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia". Africa Development Bank Group. 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  15. ^ "WAMZ gets US$ 7.8 million grant". Accra Daily Mail. 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  16. ^ Proposed Ecowas railway.
  17. ^ GCHQ and NSA targeted charities, Germans, Israeli PM and EU chief The Guardian 20 December 2013

External links

  • West-African Monetary Institute
  • UEMOA Official Web Site (In French)
  • WAEMU Treaty
  • ECOWAS Official Web Site
  • ECOWAS Commission Official Web Site: includes calendar of meetings.
  • ECOWAS Parliament
  • ECOWAS Revised Treaty
  • ECOBANK—African banking group, present in thirty (30) countries on the African continent plus France in Europe. ECOBANK's Initial Public Offer of eight million plus shares in Accra, Ghana in May 2006 was oversubscribed. The listing of this IPO, landed ECOBANK on the Ghana Stock Exchange. As of December 2009, ECOBANK stock is also listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange and on the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), the stock exchange of Francophone West African countries in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
  • More About Ecobank
  • PowerPoint presentation of ECOWAS, 2004
  • profileMbendi
  • Security by proxy? The EU and (sub-)regional organisations: the case of ECOWAS, by Bastien Nivet, Occasional Paper No. 63, March 2006, European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • More About the newly-expanded ECOWAS Commission
  • More About an ECOWAS Commissioner
  • ECOWAS document in World Bank's World Integrated Trade Solution * GPTAD database library
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.