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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS ) is a regional group of fifteen West

African countries. Founded on 28 May 1975, with the signing of theTreaty of Lagos, its mission is to
promote economic integration across the region.Considered one of the pillars of the African
Economic Community, the organization was founded in order to achieve "collective self-sufficiency"
for its member states by creating a single large trading bloc through an economic and trading union.
It also serves as a peacekeeping force in the region.The organization operates officially in three coequal languagesFrench,English, and Portuguese.The ECOWAS consists of two institutions to
implement policiesthe ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and
Development, formerly known as the Fund for Cooperation until it was renamed in 2001.A few
members of the organization have come and gone over the years. In 1976 Cape Verde joined
ECOWAS, and in December 2000 Mauritania withdrew, having announced its intention to do so in
December 1999.

Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Ivory Coast
Sierra Leone

Former member
Mauritania, withdrew in December 2000

Regional security cooperation

The ECOWAS nations assigned a non-aggression protocol in 1990 along with two earlier
agreements in 1978 and 1981. They also signed a Protocol on Mutual Defence Assistance in
Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 29 May 1981, that provided for the establishment of an Allied Armed
Force of the Community.

Expanded ECOWAS Commission

For the third time since its inception in 1975, ECOWAS is undergoing institutional reforms. The first
was when it revised its treaty on 24 July 1993; the second was in 2007, when the Secretariat was
transformed into a Commission. As of July 2013, ECOWAS now has six new departments (Human
Resources Management; Education, Science and Culture; Energy and Mines; Telecommunications
and IT; Industry and Private Sector Promotion. Finance and Administration to Sierra Leone has been
decoupled, to give the incoming Ghana Commissioner the new portfolio of Administration and

The Community Court of Justice

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice was created by a protocol signed in 1991 and was later
included in Article 6 of the Revised Treaty of the Community in 1993.However, the Court did not
officially begin operations until the 1991 protocol came into effect on 5 November 1996. The
jurisdiction of the court is outlined in Article 9 and Article 76 of the Revised Treaty and allows rulings
on disputes between states over interpretations of the Revised Treaty. It also provides the ECOWAS
Council with advisory opinions on legal issues (Article 10). Like its companion courts the European
Court of Human Rights and East African Court of Justice, it has jurisdiction to rule on fundamental
human rights breaches.

Sporting and cultural exchange

ECOWAS nations organize a broad array of cultural and sports event under the auspices of the
body, including the CEDEAO Cup in football, the 2012 ECOWAS Games and theMiss
CEDEAO beauty pageant.

Economic integration
West African Economic and Monetary Union
ECOWAS only (Cape Verde)

The West African Economic and Monetary Union (also known as UEMOA from its name
in French, Union conomique et montaire ouest-africaine) is an organization of eight West African
states. It was established to promote economic integration among countries that share the CFA
franc as a common currency. UEMOA was created by a Treaty signed at Dakar, Senegal, on 10
January 1994, by the heads of state and governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cte
dIvoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. On 2 May 1997,Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese
colony, became the organizations eighth (and only non-Francophone) member state.
UEMOA is a customs union and currency union between the members of ECOWAS. Its objectives
include the following:[

Greater economic competitiveness, through open markets, in addition to the rationalization

and harmonization of the legal environment

The convergence of macro-economic policies and indicators

The creation of a common market

The coordination of sectoral policies

The harmonization of fiscal policies

Among its achievements, the UEMOA has successfully implemented macro-economic convergence
criteria and an effective surveillance mechanism. It has adopted a customs union and common
external tariff and has combined indirect taxation regulations, in addition to initiating regional
structural and sectoral policies. A September 2002 IMF survey cited the UEMOA as "the furthest
along the path toward integration" of all the regional groupings in Africa.
ECOWAS and UEMOA have developed a common plan of action on trade liberalization and
macroeconomic policy convergence. The organizations have also agreed on common rules of origin
to enhance trade, and ECOWAS has agreed to adopt UEMOAs customs declaration forms and
compensation mechanisms.

Benin (Founding Member)

Burkina Faso (Founding Member)

Ivory Coast (Founding Member)

Guinea-Bissau (Joined on 2 May 1997)

Mali (Founding Member)

Niger (Founding Member)

Senegal (Founding Member)

Togo (Founding Member)

West African Monetary Zone

Formed in 2000, the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) is a group of six countries within
ECOWAS that plan to introduce a common currency, the Eco, by the year 2015.[The six member
states of WAMZ are Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone who founded the
organisation together in 2000 and Liberia who joined on 16 February 2010. Apart from Guinea,
which is Francophone, they are all English speaking countries. Along with Mauritania, Guinea opted
out of the CFA franc currency shared by all other former French colonies in West and Central Africa.
The WAMZ attempts to establish a strong stable currency to rival the CFA franc, whose exchange
rate is tied to that of the Euro and is guaranteed by the French Treasury. The eventual goal is for the
CFA franc and Eco to merge, giving all of West and Central Africa a single, stable currency. The

launch of the new currency is being developed by theWest African Monetary Institute based
in Accra, Ghana.

Gambia (Founding Member)

Ghana (Founding Member)

Guinea (Founding Member)

Liberia (Joined on 16 February 2010)

Nigeria (Founding Member)

Sierra Leone (Founding Member)

A Trans-ECOWAS project, established in 2007, plans to upgrade railways in this zone.

NSA surveillance
Documents of Edward Snowden showed in December 2013 that British and American intelligence
agencies surveillance targets with America's National Security Agency (NSA) included organisations
such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations
Development Programme, the UN's children's charity UNICEFand Mdecins Sans Frontires.[17]