ECOWAS is an abbreviation for Economic Community Of West African States. The organization was formed primarily for regional economic cooperation and development. It was formed on the 28th of May, 1975 in Lagos, then the capital of Nigeria.
The formation of regional economic community was initiated by Gen. Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria and President Eyadema of Togo.
Currently, Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria is the administrative headquarters, and Lome, capital of Togo serving as the fund headquarters.
All the 16 independent Nations of West Africa are members of ECOWAS. Anglophone (English speaking) countries of West Africa include Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and The Gambia. Francophone (French speaking) member states include Togo, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Benin republic, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Cote de I’vorie, and Niger republic. Others are the Buscophone (Portuguese speaking) West Africa States: Cape Verde, and Guinea Bissau.
Aims and Objectives of ECOWAS
• Co-operation and development of member countries: ECOWAS promotes co-operation and development of all member states. Development and Co-operation in all areas of economic activities.
• To foster closer relationship: ECOWAS brings West African countries together and eliminates economic barriers, thereby allowing free movement of people, goods, and services from one country to another.
• Economic stabilization: ECOWAS works toward stability of economic activities for member states.
• Adoption of common custom tariff: ECOWAS adopts and ensures a common custom tariff for all member states.
• ECOWAS encourages the progress and development of the African continent.
• Increase in standard of living through promotion of sub-regional co-operation.
• ECOWAS Fund: the fund is meant for compensation, co-operation, and development within the sub-region.
• Elimination of custom duties: custom duties in areas of exportation and importation are completely eliminated.
• Peace and unity among member states: ECOWAS injects peace and unity through administration of justice.