Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) consists of fifteen member states, which are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
ECOWAS was set up to foster the ideal of collective development and mutual support for the benefit of its member states and as a Customs Union since January 2015, it is meant to deepen integration into an Economic Union. ECOWAS promotes peace, security and stability in the region as the fundamental parameters upon which socio-economic policies are built.
ECOWAS combined GDP was $675 billion in 2013 with a population of 300 million people, forecast to grow to 400 million people by 2020.
The Vision of ECOWAS is to create a borderless region where the population has access to its abundant resources and is able to exploit same through the creation of opportunities under a sustainable environment.
Today, as the economies of African countries continue to witness steady growth, ECOWAS registers the strongest growth on the continent, with a GDP of 6.3 percent in 2013 and this was achieved largely due to the collective prosperity drive.
By increasing year-on growth, the region is now demonstrating that it has the potential and the will to address challenges hampering its economic and social development. In this regard, the Commission is creating a favourable environment for rapid economic development through the regional integration process.
The region has in the past few years developed cooperation agreements with various countries and other economic blocs around the world, in order to diversify its partners and to better mainstream ECOWAS in the multilateral trading system.
ECOWAS has embarked on the development of regional infrastructure projects in the areas of energy generation and distribution, road construction, water and sanitation, maritime transport, road transport, etc. These projects fall under the ECOWAS Community Development Programme, which has developed to spur the Economic development of the 15 member countries in a harmonious way.