Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Reference work entry
Part of the The Statesman's Yearbook book series (SYBK)

Founded in 1975 as a regional common market, ECOWAS later also became a political forum involved in the promotion of a democratic environment and the pursuit of fundamental human rights. In July 1993 it revised its treaty to assume responsibility for the regulation of regional armed conflicts, acknowledging the inextricable link between development and peace and security. Thus it now has a new role in conflict management and prevention through its Mediation and Security Council, which monitors the moratorium on the export, import and manufacture of light weapons and ammunition. However, it still retains a military arm, the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (generally known as ECOMOG). It is also involved in the war against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking. There are plans to introduce a single currency, the eco, in ECOWAS member countries in 2020.

Members. Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo.

Organization. The institutions of ECOWAS are: the Commission, the Community Parliament, the Community Court of Justice and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development.

  • Official languages: English, French and Portuguese.

  • Headquarters: 101 Yakubu Gowon Crescent, Asokoro, Abuja, Nigeria.

  • Website:

  • Email:

  • ECOWAS Commission President: Marcel Alain de Souza (Benin).

Further Reading

  1. Jaye, Thomas, Garuba, Dauda and Amadi, Stella, (eds.) ECOWAS and the Dynamics of Conflict and Peace-building. 2011Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019

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