ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES (ECOWAS)
FORMATION OF ECOWAS
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was created by the Treaty in Lagos, Nigeria, on 28th May, 1975. It was created to promote economic trade, national cooperation and monetary union, for growth and development throughout West Africa. The administrative headquarters of the community is located in Abuja, while the fund raising headquarters is located in Lome, Togo. The establishment of the organization was masterminded by General Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria and President Eyadema of Togo. There are currently 15 member countries in the Economic Community of West African States. The founding members of ECOWAS were : Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania (left 2002), Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Burkina Faso ( which joined as Upper Volta). Cape Verde joined in 1977.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF ECOWAS
- To promote cooperation and integration in all fields of economic activities.
- To raise the living standard of the people.
- To increase and maintain economic stability.
- To foster closer relations among member states.
- To contribute to the progress and development of the African Continent.
- To eliminate custom duties within the ECOWAS sub-region.
- To remove obstacles to free movement of goods and people among members states.
ORGANS OF ECOWAS
The following are the organs of ECOWAS;
- The Authority of Heads of State and Governments: This is the highest organ of the organization. It comprises of Heads of State and government within the sub-region. The organ is headed by a chairman who holds office for a period of one year. The body meets once in a year but extra-ordinary meeting may be called.
Functions of the Authority of Heads of State and Governments
- The body appoints the Executive Secretary for the organization.
- It is the highest decision making body of the organization.
- The body approves the recommendations of the council of ministers.
- It approves proposals initiated for the amendment of the charter established by the community.
- The body approves all agreements and treaties entered into by the community.
- Council of Ministers: This Council is made up of two ministers or representatives from each member state. The council meets twice in a year.
Functions of the Council of Ministers
- The council implements the decisions of the Authority of Heads of State and Government.
- It approves the budget of the organization.
- It recommends the appointment of Secretary General of the organization.
- The council prepares the agenda for the meetings of the Heads of State and Government.
- It appoints the Managing Director of the ECOWAS fund.
- The body appoints the deputy Executive Secretaries.
- The Executive Secretary: This is the administrative wing of the organization. It is located in Abuja. The Secretary General is the head of the secretariat. He holds office for a period of five years and may be re-elected for another term.
Functions of the Secretariat
- The secretariat prepares the annual report of the organization.
- It prepares the budget of the organization.
- It prepares the agenda for the meetings of the council of ministers.
- The secretariat implements the decisions of the Authority of Heads of States and Council of Ministers.
- The secretariat keeps the files on all the meetings of the council of ministers and Heads of States.
- The body is responsible for all correspondence of the community.
- The Fund for Co-operation, Compensation and Development: The headquarters of the fund is located in Lome, Togo. It is headed by a Managing Director, who is appointed by the Council of Ministers.
- The fund is used to provide compensation to member states which sustained losses in the process of the application of the ECOWAS treaty.
- The fund is to promote development efforts in less developed member states.
- The fund is to facilitate mobilization of internal and external resources for development.
- It helps to guarantee foreign investments proposed by member states.