by Riccardo Cacelli
London – In recent days, on the occasion of the coup in Niger, the world is talking about Ecowas/Cedeao. For many this is an unknown acronym. This is why today I decided to explain what Ecowas is, who composes it and its objectives.
Ecowas is the Economic Community of West African States (also known as CEDEAO in French and Portuguese) is a regional political and economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa.
Collectively, these countries comprise an area of 5,114,162 km2 (1,974,589 sq mi), and in 2019 had an estimated population of over 387 million.
The Heads of State and Government of fifteen West African Countries established the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) when they signed the ECOWAS Treaty on the 28th of May 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria.
The ECOWAS region, which spans an area of 5.2 million square kilometres.
The Member States are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sénégal and TogoConsidered one of the pillars of the African Economic Community, ECOWAS was set up to foster the ideal of collective self-sufficiency for its member states. As a trading union, it is also meant to create a single, large trading bloc through economic cooperation.
Integrated economic activities as envisaged in the area that has a combined GDP of $734.8 billion, revolve around but are not limited to industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial issues, social as well as cultural matters.
A borderless region where the population has access to its abundant resources and is able to exploit them through the creation of opportunities under a sustainable environment. An integrated region where the population enjoys free movement, access to efficient education and health systems, engage in economic and commercial activities and live in dignity, in an environment of peace and security.
A region governed in accordance with the principles of democracy, the rule of law and good governance.
The aim of the Community is to promote co-operation and integration, leading to the establishment of an economic union in West Africa in order to raise the living standards of its peoples, and to maintain and enhance economic stability, foster relations-among Member States and contribute to the progress and development of the African continent.
1.Equality and inter-dependence of Member States;
2.Solidarity and collective self-reliance;
3.Inter-State co-operation, harmonisation of policies and integration of programmes;
4.Non-aggression between Member States;
5.Gaintenance of regional peace, stability and security through the promotion and strengthening of good neighbourliness;
6.Peaceful settlement of disputes among Member States, active co-operation between neighbouring countries and promotion of a peaceful environment as a prerequisite for economic development;
7.Recognition, promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
8.Accountability, economic and social justice and popular participation in development;
9.Recognition and observance of the rules and principles of the Community;
10.Promotion and consolidation of a democratic system of governance in each Member State as envisaged by the Declaration of Political Principles adopted in Abuja on 6 July, 1991;
11.Equitable and just distribution of the costs and benefits of economic co-operation and integration.