IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


29th January, 2024 Geography


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The military regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger announced recently their immediate withdrawal from the West African bloc ECOWAS.



  • The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS is a regional political and economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa.
  • The regional group established in 1975 through theLagos Treaty - with a mandate of promoting economic integration among its members.
  • 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.
  • Its Vision is the creation of a “borderless region” that is well-integrated and governed in accordance with the principles of democracy, rule of law and good governance.
  • The new visionof ECOWAS is to move from an ECOWAS of States to an “ECOWAS of the People: Peace and Prosperity to All” by 2050.
  • Member countries: 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. These countries have both cultural and geopolitical ties and shared common economic interest.
  • Headquarters: Abuja, Nigeria.

What kind of a role has ECOWAS played in the region so far?

  • Beyond the goals of economic cooperation, ECOWAS has attempted to quell military conflicts in the region.
  • According to Associated Press, ECOWAS also operated a regional peacekeeping operation known as ECOMOG, led by Nigeria in the 1990s and early 2000s, like in Liberia when forces were first deployed in 1990 during the deadly civil war and in Sierra Leone in 1997 when a democratically elected government was overthrown.


  • ECOWAS consists of two operating institutions to implement policies: the ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) – formerly known as the Fund for Cooperation, until it was renamed in 2001.[51]
  • ECOWAS includes the following institutions: ECOWAS Commission, Community Court of Justice,Community Parliament, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), West African Health Organisation (WAHO),and the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in West Africa (GIABA).


Discuss the role of ECOWAS in development of regional west Africa?