Welcome to class! 

In today’s class, we will be talking about ECOWAS. Enjoy the class!



The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was created by a treaty in Lagos (Lagos Treaty), 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 fundraising headquarter 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

  1. To unite West African countries economically.
  2. To promote trade among member states.
  3. To promote free movement of people within ECOWAS states without a visa.
  4. To promote cultural integration through sports, arts, education etc.
  5. To ensure that there is peace within the West African Sub-region.
  6. To erase all forms of colonialism and neo-colonialism from ECOWAS sub-region.
  7. To eventually ensure the use of common currency.
  8. To develop foreign investment.


  1. How many countries make up ECOWAS and what is the name of the country that joined the organization last?
  2. Mention any three objectives of ECOWAS.
Achievements of ECOWAS
  1. Free Movement of People: The use of visa has been replaced with the ECOWAS passport that allows members free entry and exit within the sub-region.
  2. Economic Liberation: Common market has been developed for members within ECOWAS sub-region.
  3. Development of International Communication: Recently, Several ECOWAS roads and telecommunications network have been created to link several ECOWAS sub-region.
  4. Peace and Tranquility: ECOWAS has ensured peace in War-torn regions e.g. Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Cote D’Ivoire etc.
  5. Military Co-operation: The ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) has ensured military cooperation through training and exchange of ideas among members.
  6. Right to Settle Anywhere: ECOWAS citizens via the ECOWAS passport have the right to live and settle in any ECOWAS country without any form of discrimination.
  7. Promotion of Sports through WAFU (West African Football Union).
  8. Educational Integration and Interaction.
  9. Scientific and Technical Co-operation.
  10. Trade Liberalization.
Problems facing ECOWAS

Some of the problems hindering the achievement of ECOWAS include:

  1. The similarity of products:  Almost all ECOWAS members produce similar agricultural goods due to the similarity of climate. This makes trade among member states difficult.
  2. Strong ties with colonial masters: Majority of ECOWAS members are still tied to the aprons of their colonial masters hence, move to favour their individual aims rather than that of the organization.
  3. There is the fear of domination by bigger countries e.g. Nigeria and Togo.
  4. Political instability: This had been a strong limitation because it retards growth and development.
  5. Language barrier: The Francophone countries still find it difficult to mix-freely with the Anglophone countries. This makes trade difficult.
  6. Differences in currency limit trade liberation.
  7. High demand for foreign currencies: Most ECOWAS members prefer to trade with the USA and Europe than with member states due to the high currency value of the U.S Dollars and Euros.
  8. There is also the problem of transportation and communication. Transportation is still largely limited to road and still very expensive.
  9. Non-implementation of agreed programmes and resolutions e.g. common market & currency.
  10. Some members are very poor that they do not pay their dues regularly. This hinders the implementation of ECOWAS projects
Solutions to some of the problems of ECOWAS
  1. West African Countries should diversify their economy. That is, they should not only depend on one sector such as oil but in manufacturing, tourism and agriculture.
  2. Common currency should be quickly adopted to facilitate trade within the sub-region.
  3. Member countries should ensure political stability and not encourage factions and rebels.
  4. Members should learn to detach themselves from the control or influence of colonial masters.
  5. Agreed resolutions and programmes should be implemented.
  6. Good roads, railway network, air-routes and other transportation links within ECOWAS sub-region should be developed and maintained.
General evaluation
  1. Outline any three-benefits of ECOWAS since inception.
  2. Mention any four problems hindering ECOWAS from attaining her goals.
  3. What year was ECOWAS founded?
  4. Where the financial headquarter of ECOWAS?
  5. Explain denudation processes. 

Weekend assignment

  1. The focus of ECOWAS is on _____ growth. (a) Political (b) Economic (c) religions (d) ethnic
  2. The last country to join ECOWAS is ______(a) Nigeria (b) Guinea (c) Guinea Bissau (d) Mali
  3. The Administrative Headquarters of ECOWAS is ______ (a) Abuja (b) Dakar (c) Lome (d) Accra
  4. One of these is not a problem of ECOWAS ________(a) political instability    (b) strong ties with colonial masters (c) free movement (d) similar climate
  5. The military arm of ECOWAS is called _______ (a) UNO (b) NATO (c) ECOMOG (d) UNESCO


On a map of West Africa, name and locate five ECOWAS countries and their capital.


In our next class, we will be talking about World Trade. We hope you enjoyed the class.

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

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