Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional group of fifteen countries, founded on 28 May 1975, with the adoption of the ECOWAS Treaty. In 1993, the Treaty was revised to accelerate the process of integration.

Objectives and approach

ECOWAS´ overall objective is to promote cooperation and integration with a view to establishing an economic and monetary union as a means of stimulating economic growth and development in West Africa.

Institutional structure

The Institutions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are:

  • The Conference of Heads of States and Governments;
  • The Council of Ministers;
  • The Commission (Executive Secretariat);
  • The Community Parliament;
  • The Community Court of Justice;
  • The West African health Organisation;
  • The ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development ;
  • The ECOWAS Regional Development Fund;
  • The ECOWAS Regional Investment Bank;
  • The West African Monetary Agency;
  • The West African Monetary Institute;
  • Specialised Technical Commissions.

The ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development are its two main institutions designed to implement policies, pursue a number of programmes and carry out development projects in Member States. Such projects include intra-community road construction and telecommunications; and agricultural, energy and water resources development.

Work areas

Its mission is to promote economic integration in "all fields of economic activity, particularly industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, social and cultural matters."