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Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)



The Treaty of Lagos establishing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was signed in May 1975 by 15 States, with the purpose of promoting trade, co-operation and self-reliance in West Africa. Cape Verde joined the organization in 1977 while Mauritania withdrew in 1999. A revised ECOWAS treaty, designed to accelerate economic integration and to increase political co-operation, was drafted in 1991-92, and was signed in July 1993. The revised treaty identifies the establishment of a common market and a single currency as economic objectives.

The ECOWAS Secretariat and the Fund for Cooperation, Compensation and Development are its two main institutions to implement policies. The ECOWAS Fund was transformed into the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development in 2001. 


The main objectives of ECOWAS are:

  • To promote co-operation and integration in economic, social and cultural activity
  • The establishment of an economic and monetary union through the total integration of the national economies of member states
  • To raise the living standards of its peoples
  • To maintain and enhance economic stability
  • To foster relations among member states and contribute to the progress and development of the African Continent