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The aims and objectives of ECOWAS

The Economic Community of West African States was established in 1975 by 15 member nations, who signed a treaty in Lagos, Nigeria, on 28th May, of the same year. The Community was later joined by a 16th member, Cape Verde in 1976. In 2002, Mauritania left the community, so membership is back to the original 15 membership.

Currently, the member states include Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Togo, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. The headquarters of the Community is now at Abuja, having been previously headquartered in Lagos. Nigeria.

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Promote co-operation and integration
One of the aims of ECOWAS was to promote co-operation and integration. It was believed that this could lead to the establishment of a monetary union to stimulate economic activity and achieve stability.

Eliminate customs duties etc. at entry points
Secondly, the community aimed at ensuring the elimination of customs duties, import and export duties that are charged at the various entry and exit points among the member countries.

Harmonize policies
Thirdly, the community aimed at the harmonization of the policies of the member states so that programmes and projects in the sub-region can be integrated.

Create a common market
Fourthly, the community's aim was to establish a common market, through the removal of the barriers to the free movement of goods and services as well as of persons. Another component of this was the adoption of common tariffs within the sub-region.

Joint venture
Fifthly, the organization aimed at the promotion of joint ventures among companies of member countries in order to encourage investments across their borders.

Regional Fund for co-operation, compensation, and development
Sixthly, the organization aimed at the establishment of a fund, the ECOWAS Fund, to cater for the special needs of member states that might arise in the course of the implementation of the protocols of the organization.

Balanced development
Another aim of the ECOWAS was the encouragement of plans and policies to promote a balanced development across the entire sub-region.

1. a. Describe the Economic Community of West African States.
    b. Highlight five aims of the formation of the community.
2. Explain six fundamental principles governing the Economic Community of West African States.
3. a. What is the composition of the Economic Community of West African States?
    b. Give five reasons why the West African countries find it necessary to establish the ECOWAS?
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