What is ECOWAS?


  • Apart from the expected international players, such as Russia and the United States, the regional bloc ECOWAS or the Economic Community of West African States has been playing an active role in Niger’s coup.
What is ECOWAS?
Photo Credit: Research Gate

What is ECOWAS?

  • Also known as CEDEAO in French, the regional group was established in 1975 through the Lagos Treaty – with a mandate of promoting economic integration among its members.
  • Today, ECOWAS has 15 members: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.
    • Around 400 million people live in this region.
  • Although, following coups in recent years in some of the biggest countries in the bloc – namely Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso – it suspended the three members and refused to recognise their new governments.
  • ECOWAS’ larger aims are to have a single common currency and create a single, large trading bloc in areas of industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, financial issues, and social and cultural matters.
  • According to its website, the vision of ECOWAS is the creation of a “borderless region” that is well-integrated.
  • “ECOWAS is meant to be a region governed in accordance with the principles of democracy, rule of law and good governance,” it states.
  • At the helm of its organisation structure is the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government.
  • The Chairman is the current Head of State and Government and is appointed by other Heads of State and Government to oversee its affairs for one year.

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