ECOWAS was formed on the 28th of May, 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria. It has 16 Independent nations of West Africa. Nigeria, under the leadership of General Yakubu Gowon and Togo under President Eyadema, initiated the formation of the sub-regional economic group. The community is made up of 5 Anglophone countries and 11 Francophone countries.

Anglophone – Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra-leone, Gambia and Liberia

Francophone – Guinea, Togo, Mali, Senegal, Niger Republic, Cape Verde, Burkina faso, Benin Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania.

Aims and Objectives of ECOWAS

  1. To promote cooperation and development
  2. To raise the standard of living of the people
  3. To enhance the maintenance of economic stability
  4. To foster closer relations
  5. Establishment of common custom tariff
  6. Elimination of custom duties
  7. Establishment of funds for co-operation
  8. To implement infrastructural and economic policies
  9. To remove obstacles for free movement

Problems or Weaknesses of ECOWAS

  1. Language barrier
  2. The influence of colonial masters
  3. Ideological differences
  4. No common currency
  5. Different levels of economic development
  6. Political instability
  7. Global recession
  8. Transportation and communication problems
  9. Similarity of products among states
  10. Problems of smuggling
  11. Problems of fund
  12. No more automatic free movement

Achievements of ECOWAS

  1. Removal of custom duties
  2. Elimination of obstacles to movement of persons
  3. No trade restrictions
  4. Establishment of Fund
  5. Formation of ECOMOG (Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group)
  6. Co-operation in culture and sports
  7. Mediation in disputes between states
  8. Activities against Apartheid in South Africa
  9. Growth and expansion of Markets
  10. Promotion of Unity
  11. Co-operation in the fields of Agriculture, Energy, Transportation etc
  12. The establishment of ECOBANK
  13. Co-operation in harmonising industrial policies
  14. Movements and availability of cheap labour