Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

  • West African bloc ECOWAS is set to hold discussions about Niger after the junta defies the deadline.
About ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States):
  • The Economic Community of West African States is a regional political and economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa.
  • Goal: To achieve “collective self-sufficiency” for its member states by creating a single large trade bloc by building a full economic and trading union.
  • Origin: 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.
  • Members: The 15 members of the ECOWAS are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
Sub-regional blocks of ECOWAS:
  • West African Economic and Monetary Union is an organisation of eight, mainly French-speaking, states within ECOWAS which share a customs union and currency union.
  •  West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ): It was established in 2000, comprises six mainly English-speaking countries within ECOWAS which plan to work towards adopting their own common currency, the eco.
Significance of ECOWAS: 
  • Geographic: The bloc represents West Africa’s regional cooperation as envisaged in the Treaty of the African Economic Community.
  • Economic: It promotes economic cooperation among member states in order to raise living standards and promote economic development.
  • Strategic: ECOWAS has worked to address security issues by developing a peacekeeping force for conflicts 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.
News Source: DTE
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