The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was created by the Treaty of Lagos in Lagos, Nigeria, on May 28, 1975. ECOWAS was
established to promote economic integration among West African countries that constitute its member-states in the West-African sub-region.
On July 24, 1993, a revised treaty was signed to fast-track the integration of its economic policy and to promote political cooperation among member-countries, by establishing a Single Currency, a Social and Economic Council, a West African Parliament and a Community Court of Justice for the smooth operation of the commission.
ECOWAS is considered as one of the major pillars of the African Economic Community due to its economic impact in the region and globally. As a progressive Commission, ECOWAS adopted Vision 2020 as its development blueprint for the next decade to raise the standard of living in West Africa through inclusive programs that will have a long-lasting impact on the region.
15 Countries make up the Economic Community of West African States: they are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. ECOWAS has three official languages – French, English and Portuguese. Eight of its member-states are French-speaking, five are English-speaking, and two are Portuguese-speaking.
ECOWAS consists of the Authority of Heads of State and Government that serves as the supreme institution of the Commission, the Council of Ministers, the Community Tribunal, the Community Court of Justice, the Executive Secretariat, the ECOWAS Parliament, and the Specialized Commissions.
The specialized commissions include The ECOWAS Commission, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), the Community Parliament, the Community Court of Justice, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in West Africa (GIABA), the West African Health Organization (WAHO), the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA), the Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF), The West African Power Pool (WAPP), ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), ECOWAS Gender Development Centre, and ECOWAS BROWN CARD.