Economic Community of West African States

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Economic Community of West African States
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{{Use dmy dates|date=January 2017}}{{EngvarB|date=January 2017}}{{update|date=January 2017}}{{Short description|intergovernmental economic union}}

>{{native nameComunidade Económica dos Estados da África Ocidental}}}}|linking_name = the Economic Community of West African States|image_flag = |alt_flag = |symbol_type = Emblem|image_symbol = ECOWAS Flag.png|alt_symbol = |symbol_width = 150px|image_map = ECOWAS members.svg|membership = |established = 28 May 1975
{{collapsible list
|titlestyle = background:transparent;text-align:left;font-weight:normal;
|title = 15 members
|{{BEN}} |{{BUR}} |{{CPV}} | {{flag|The Gambia}} |{{GHA}} |{{GUI}} |{{GBS}} |{{CIV}} |{{LBR}} |{{MLI}} |{{NIG}} |{{NGA}} |{{SEN}} |{{SLE}} |{{TOG}}
}}|admin_center_type = Headquarters
Abuja, Nigeria}}{{coord|9|2|35|N|7|31|32|E}}|languages_type = Official languagesEnglishPortuguese}}|leader_title1 = ChairmanMahamadou Issoufou}}|leader_title2 = President of the CommissionJean-Claude Kassi Brou }}Speaker (politics)>Speaker of the ParliamentMoustapha Cissé Lô}}|established_event1 = Treaty of LagosACCESS-DATE=26 OCTOBER 2014 ARCHIVE-DATE=17 OCTOBER 2015 DF=DMY-ALL, |established_event2 = Treaty Revision|established_date2 = 24 July 1993|area_rank = 7th|area_km2 = 5,114,162|area_sq_mi = auto|population_estimate = 349,154,000|population_estimate_rank = 3rd|population_estimate_year = 2015|population_density_km2 = 68.3|population_density_sq_mi = auto|population_density_rank = TITLE=GDP, PPP (CURRENT INTERNATIONAL $) | TABLE ACCESSDATE=8 AUGUST 2014, |GDP_PPP_rank = 18th|GDP_PPP_year = 2015TITLE=GNI PER CAPITA, PPP (CURRENT INTERNATIONAL $) | TABLE ACCESSDATE=8 AUGUST 2014, |GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = TITLE=GDP (CURRENT US$) | TABLE ACCESSDATE=8 AUGUST 2014, 2015|GDP_nominal_rank = 21st|GDP_nominal_year = |GDP_nominal_per_capita = $1,985|GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = |Gini_year = |Gini_change = |Gini = |Gini_ref = |Gini_rank = |HDI_year = |HDI_change = |HDI = |HDI_ref = |HDI_rank = |currency =
{{unbulleted list
| {{flagicon|Cape Verde}} Escudo {{smaller|(CVE)}}
| {{flagicon|Ghana}} Cedi {{smaller|(GHS)}} b
| {{flagicon|Gambia}} Dalasi {{smaller|(GMD)}} b
| {{flagicon|Guinea}} Franc {{smaller|(GNF)}} b
| {{flagicon|Liberia}} Dollar {{smaller|(LRD)}} c
| {{flagicon|Nigeria}} Naira {{smaller|(NGN)}} b
| {{flagicon|Sierra Leone}} Leone {{smaller|(SLL)}} c
| {{nowrap|W. African CFA franc {{smaller|(XOF)}}}}
}}|time_zone = |utc_offset = +0 to +1|official_website =weblink|footnote_a = If considered as a single entity.
Eco (currency)>eco.|footnote_c = Liberia and Sierra Leone have expressed an interest in joining the eco.}}The Economic Community of West African States, also known as ECOWAS, is a regional political and economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa. Collectively, these countries comprise an area of {{convert|5,114,162|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}}, and in 2015 had an estimated population of over 349 million.The union was established on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, with its stated mission to promote economic integration across the region. A revised version of the treaty was agreed and signed on 24 July 1993 in Cotonou. Considered one of the pillar regional blocs of the continent-wide African Economic Community (AEC), the stated goal of ECOWAS is to achieve "collective self-sufficiency" for its member states by creating a single large trade bloc by building a full economic and trading union.ECOWAS also serves as a peacekeeping force in the region, with member states occasionally sending joint military forces to intervene in the bloc's member countries at times of political instability and unrest. In recent years these included interventions in Ivory Coast in 2003, Liberia in 2003, Guinea-Bissau in 2012, Mali in 2013, and Gambia in 2017.NEWS, West African Leaders Agree on Deployment to Liberia, Segun, Adeyemi, Jane's Defence Weekly, 6 August 2003, NEWS, The 5 previous West African military interventions,weblink 27 January 2017, Yahoo News, AFP, 20 January 2017, ECOWAS includes two sub-regional blocs:
  • The West African Economic and Monetary Union (also known by its French-language acronym UEMOA) is an organisation of eight, mainly French-speaking, states within the ECOWAS which share a customs union and currency union. Established in 1994 and intended to counterbalance the dominance of English-speaking economies in the bloc (such as Nigeria and Ghana), members of UEMOA are mostly former territories of French West Africa. The currency they all use is the CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro.
  • The West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), established in 2000, comprises six mainly English-speaking countries within ECOWAS which plan to work towards adopting their own common currency, the eco.
In addition, ECOWAS includes the following institutions: ECOWAS Commission, Community Court of Justice,WEB,weblink CCJ Official Website, Community Parliament,WEB,weblink Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) | ., ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), West African Health Organisation (WAHO),WEB,weblink WAHO | West African Health Organization,, and the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in West Africa (GIABA).WEB,weblink Welcome !, GIABA, 2019-10-16, ECOWAS operates in three co-official languages—French, English, and Portuguese, and consists of two institutions to implement policies: the ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), formerly known as the Fund for Cooperation until it was renamed in 2001. In 1976 Cape Verde joined ECOWAS, and in December 2000 Mauritania withdrew, having announced its intention to do so in December 1999.In 2011, ECOWAS adopted its development blueprint for the next decade, Vision 2020, and, to accompany it, a Policy on Science and Technology (ECOPOST).

Member states

As of February 2017, ECOWAS has 15 member states; eight of these are French-speaking, five are English-speaking, and two Portuguese-speaking. All current members joined the community as founding members in May 1975, except Cape Verde which joined in 1977.BOOK,weblink Historical Dictionary of Mauritania, 177–178, Anthony, Pazzanita, 2008, Scarecrow Press, 978-0-8108-6265-4, The only former member of ECOWAS is Arabic-speaking Mauritania, which was also one of the founding members in 1975 and decided to withdraw in December 2000. Mauritania recently signed a new associate-membership agreement in August 2017.WEB, Okanla, Karim, Like a magnet,weblink D+C, Development and Cooperation, Morocco officially requested to join ECOWAS in February 2017.WEB,weblink Afrique,, 2017-02-24, 2019-10-15, The application was endorsed at the summit of heads of state in June 2017.WEB,weblink Togolese president Faure Gnassingbe takes the reins of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, 2017-06-07, 2017-06-15, Statistics for population, nominal GDP and purchasing power parity GDP listed below are taken from World Bank estimates for 2015, published in December 2016. Area data is taken from a 2012 report compiled by the United Nations Statistics Division.{| class="sortable wikitable plainrowheaders" style="font-size:95%; white-space:nowrap"|+ ECOWAS Zone A member states! scope="col" style="width:120px;"|Country! scope="col" style="width:100px;"|AreaWEB
, Demographic Yearbook – Population by sex, annual rate of population increase, surface area and density
, 2012
, 1–2
, United Nations Statistics Division
, 27 January 2017, {{small|(km2)}}
! scope="col" style="width:100px;"|PopulationWEB
, Population 2015
, 16 December 2016
, World Bank
, 27 January 2017, {{small|(thousands)}}
! scope="col" style="width:100px;"|{{nowrap|GDP (nominal)WEB
, Gross domestic product 2015
, 16 December 2016
, World Bank
, 27 January 2017, {{small|(millions USD)}}}}
! scope="col" style="width:100px;"|{{nowrap|GDP (PPP)WEB
, Gross domestic product 2015, PPP
, 16 December 2016
, World Bank
, 27 January 2017, {{small|(millions intl.$)}}}}
! scope="col" style="width:80px;"|Currency! scope="col" style="width:80px;"|Official language!scope=row|{{flag|Cape Verde}}{{nts|4033}}{{nts|521}}{{nts|1603}}{{nts|3413}}escudoPortuguese!scope=row|{{flag|Gambia}}{{nts|11295}}{{nts|1991}}{{nts|939}}{{nts|3344}}dalasiEnglish!scope=row|{{flag|Guinea}}{{nts|245857}}{{nts|12609}}{{nts|6699}}{{nts|15244}}francFrench!scope=row|{{flag|Guinea-Bissau}}{{nts|36125}}{{nts|1844}}{{nts|1057}}{{nts|2685}}CFA francPortuguese!scope=row|{{flag|Liberia}}{{nts|111369}}{{nts|4503}}{{nts|2053}}{{nts|3762}}dollarEnglish!scope=row|{{flag|Mali}}{{nts|1240192}}{{nts|17600}}{{nts|12747}}{{nts|35695}}CFA francFrench!scope=row|{{flag|Senegal}}{{nts|196712}}{{nts|15129}}{{nts|13610}}{{nts|36625}}CFA francFrench!scope=row|{{flag|Sierra Leone}}{{nts|72300}}{{nts|6453}}{{nts|4215}}{{nts|10127}}leoneEnglish!scope=row|ECOWAS Zone A total{{nts|1917883}}{{nts|60550}}{{nts|42923}}{{nts|110895}}{| class="sortable wikitable plainrowheaders" style="font-size:95%; white-space:nowrap"|+ ECOWAS Zone B member states! scope="col" style="width:120px;"|Country! scope="col" style="width:100px;"|Area{{small|(km2)}}! scope="col" style="width:100px;"|Population{{small|(thousands)}}! scope="col" style="width:100px;"|{{nowrap|GDP (nominal){{small|(millions USD)}}}}! scope="col" style="width:100px;"|{{nowrap|GDP (PPP){{small|(millions intl.$)}}}}! scope="col" style="width:80px;"|Currency! scope="col" style="width:80px;"|Official language!scope=row|{{flag|Benin}}{{nts|114763}}{{nts|10880}}{{nts|8291}}{{nts|22377}}CFA francFrench!scope=row|{{flag|Burkina Faso}}{{nts|272967}}{{nts|18106}}{{nts|10678}}{{nts|30708}}CFA francFrench!scope=row|{{flag|Ghana}}{{nts|238533}}{{nts|27410}}{{nts|37543}}{{nts|115409}}cediEnglish!scope=row|{{flag|Ivory Coast}}{{nts|322463}}{{nts|22702}}{{nts|31759}}{{nts|79766}}CFA francFrench!scope=row|{{flag|Niger}}{{nts|1267000}}{{nts|19899}}{{nts|7143}}{{nts|19013}}CFA francFrench!scope=row|{{flag|Nigeria}}{{nts|923768}}{{nts|182202}}{{nts|481066}}{{nts|1093921}}NairaEnglish!scope=row|{{flag|Togo}}{{nts|56785}}{{nts|7305}}{{nts|4088}}{{nts|10667}}CFA francFrench!scope=row|ECOWAS Zone B total{{nts|3196279}}{{nts|277502}}{{nts|580568}}{{nts|1371861}}


Executive Secretaries of the Commissions

{{Politics of the African Union mini|financial|width=5em}}{| class=" wikitable sortable"!Executive Secretary ! Country! In office| Inaugural holder Aboubakar Diaby Ouattara |{{CIV}}| January 1977 – 1985|Momodu Munu|{{SLE}}| 1985–1989|Abass Bundu|{{SLE}}| 1989–1993|Édouard Benjamin|{{GIN}}| 1993–1997|Lansana Kouyaté|{{GIN}}| September 1997 – 31 January 2002|Mohamed Ibn Chambas|{{GHA}}| 1 February 2002 – 31 December 2007|Mohamed Ibn Chambas|{{GHA}}| 1 January 2007 – 18 February 2010|James Victor Gbeho|{{GHA}}| 18 February 2010 – 1 March 2012|Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo|{{BFA}}| 1 March 2012 – 4 June 2016|Marcel Alain de Souza|{{BEN}}| 4 June 2016 – 1 March 2018


{| class="!Chairperson! Country! In office|Yakubu Gowon|{{NGR}}| 28 May 1975 – 29 July 1975|Gnassingbé Eyadéma|{{TOG}}| 29 July 1975 – 13 September 1977|Olusegun Obasanjo|{{NGR}}| 13 September 1977 – 30 September 1979|Léopold Sédar Senghor|{{SEN}}| 30 September 1979 – 31 December 1980|Gnassingbé Eyadéma|{{TOG}}| 1980–1981|Siaka Stevens|{{SLE}}| 1981–1982|Mathieu KérékouBenin|1975}}| 1982–1983|Ahmed Sékou Touré|{{GIN}}| 1983–1984|Lansana Conté|{{GIN}}| 1984–1985|Muhammadu Buhari|{{NGR}}| 1985 – 27 August 1985|Ibrahim Babangida|{{NGR}}| 27 August 1985 – 1989|Dawda Jawara|{{GAM}}| 1989–1990|Blaise Compaoré|{{BFA}}| 1990–1991|Dawda Jawara|{{GAM}}| 1991–1992|Abdou Diouf|{{SEN}}| 1992–1993|Nicéphore Soglo|{{BEN}}| 1993–1994|Jerry Rawlings|{{GHA}}| 1994 – 27 July 1996|Sani Abacha|{{NGR}}| 27 July 1996 – 8 June 1998|Abdulsalami Abubakar|{{NGR}}| 9 June 1998 – 1999|Gnassingbé Eyadéma|{{TOG}}| 1999 – 1999|Alpha Oumar Konaré|{{MLI}}| 1999 – 21 December 2001|Abdoulaye Wade|{{SEN}}| 21 December 2001 – 31 January 2003|John Kufuor|{{GHA}}| 31 January 2003 – 19 January 2005|Mamadou Tandja|{{NIG}}| 19 January 2005 – 19 January 2007|Blaise Compaoré|{{BFA}}| 19 January 2007 – 19 December 2008|Umaru Musa Yar'Adua|{{NGR}}| 19 December 2008 – 18 February 2010|Goodluck Jonathan|{{NGR}}| 18 February 2010 – 17 February 2012|Alassane Ouattara|{{CIV}}| 17 February 2012 – 17 February 2013|John Mahama|{{GHA}}| 17 February 2013 – 19 May 2015|Macky Sall|{{SEN}}| 19 May 2015 – 4 June 2016|Ellen Johnson Sirleaf|{{LBR}}|4 June 2016 – 4 June 2017|Faure Gnassingbé|{{TOG}}|4 June 2017 – 31 July 2018|Muhammadu Buhari|{{NGR}}|31 July 2018 – 29 June 2019 |Mahamadou Issoufou|{{NIG}}|29 June 2019 – present

Regional security co-operation

{{See also|Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group}}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.WEB, Profile: Economic Community of West African States, Africa Union, 18 November 2010,weblink 10 December 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 26 June 2011, dmy-all,

Community Parliament

The Community Parliament consists of 115 members, distributed based on the population of each member state.About Us - ECOWAS Parliament, accessed 6 March 2017 {{webarchive|url= |date=7 March 2017 }} This body is headed by the Speaker of the Parliament, who is above the Secretary General.{| class=" wikitable sortable"!Country! Parliament Seats|{{BEN}}|5|{{BFA}}|6|{{CPV}}|5|{{CIV}}|7|{{GMB}}|5|{{GHA}}|8|{{GIN}}|6|{{GNB}}|5|{{LBR}}|5|{{MLI}}|6|{{NER}}|6|{{NGA}}|35|{{SEN}}|6|{{SLE}}|5|{{TGO}}|5

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).WEB, Bensah, Emmanuel K.,weblink Communicating the ECOWAS Message (4): A New Roadmap for the Ouedraogo Commission(1),, 24 July 2013, 8 August 2014,

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.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, ECOWAS (2007) Information Manual: The Institutions of the Community ECOWAS, 30 October 2008, 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 Articles 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.

Sporting and cultural exchange

ECOWAS nations organise a broad array of cultural and sports events under the auspices of the body, including the CEDEAO Cup in football, the 2012 ECOWAS Games and the Miss CEDEAO beauty pageant.NEWS, Miss ECOWAS 2010, The Economist, 18 November 2010,weblink 10 December 2010,

Economic integration

West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) {{anchor|West African Economic and Monetary Union}}

{{See also|CFA franc|Economic and monetary union}}File:UEMOA and Eco in ECOWAS.PNG|thumb|250px|{{legend|#008000|UEMOA}}{{legend|#FF0000|WAMZ}}{{legend|#000080|ECOWAS only (Cape VerdeCape VerdeThe West African Economic and Monetary Union (also known as UEMOA from its name in French, Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine) is an organisation of eight, mainly francophone West African states within the ECOWAS, that were dominated otherwise by anglophone heavyweights like Nigeria and Ghana.NEWS, La concurrence des organisations régionales en Afrique, Matthieu, Fau-Nougaret (ed.), Paris: L'Harmattan, 2012, It was established to promote economic integration among countries that share the CFA franc as a common currency. UEMOA was created by a Treaty signed at Dakar, Senegal, on 10 January 1994, by the heads of state and governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. On 2 May 1997, Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, became the organisation's eighth (and only non-francophone) member state.UEMOA is a customs union and currency union between the members of ECOWAS. Its objectives include:WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2008-12-27, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 February 2009, dmy-all, 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
  • Greater economic competitiveness, through open markets, in addition to the rationalisation and harmonisation of the legal environment
  • The convergence of macro-economic policies and indicators
  • The creation of a common market
  • The co-ordination of sectoral policies
  • The harmonisation 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."Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)" fact sheet from the US Department of State's Bureau of African AffairsECOWAS and UEMOA have developed a common plan of action on trade liberalisation 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."Annual Report on Integration in Africa 2002" All Africa, 1 March 2002


(File:ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development headquarters in Lomé.jpg|thumb|ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development headquarters in Lome.)
  • {{BEN}} (Founding Member)
  • {{BFA}} (Founding Member)
  • {{CIV}} (Founding Member)
  • {{GNB}} (Joined on 2 May 1997)
  • {{MLI}} (Founding Member)
  • {{NIG}} (Founding Member)
  • {{SEN}} (Founding Member)
  • {{TOG}} (Founding Member)

West African Monetary Zone

{{See also|Eco (currency)}}Formed in 2000, the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) is a group of six countries within ECOWAS that plan to introduce a common currency called the Eco.NEWS,weblink Common West Africa currency: ECO in 2015, MC Modern Ghana, The six member states of WAMZ are Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone who founded the organisation together in 2000 and 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.


  • {{GAM}} (Founding Member)
  • {{GHA}} (Founding Member)
  • {{GIN}} (Founding Member)
  • {{LBR}} (Joined on 16 February 2010)WEB, The Supplementary Wamz Payment System Development Project the Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, Africa Development Bank Group, 2011,weblink 7 May 2011, WEB, WAMZ gets US$7.8 million grant, Accra Daily Mail, 2011,weblink 7 May 2011,
  • {{NGR}} (Founding Member)
  • {{SLE}} (Founding Member)


A Trans-ECOWAS project, established in 2007, plans to upgrade railways in this zone.Proposed Ecowas railway {{webarchive|url= |date=24 October 2009 }}.

See also



External links

{{Commons category|Economic Community of West African States}} {{ECOWAS}}{{African Trade Agreements}}{{Regional organizations}}{{Authority control}}

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