ECOWAS: All You Need to Know

History of ECOWAS

The History of ECOWAS started when the treaty of Lagos establishing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was signed on 28th May, 1975 by Heads of State and Government of fifteen Independent States, later joined by a sixteenth.



Aims & Objectives of ECOWAS

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) aim at:

  1. Promoting Co-operation and development in all fields of economic activity, particularly, in the fields of industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions and in social and cultural matters, for the purpose of raising the standard of living of its people
  2. Increasing and maintaining economic stability, fostering closer relations among its members and contributing to the progress and development of the African Continent.

The ECOWAS sub-region covers the entire West African continental land mass and islands, with an area of 6.2 million kilometers and drained by three major rivers: The Niger – 4,200km long; The Senegal – 1,700km; and the Volta – 1,200km. The three widening rivers, like jugular veins sustains agriculture, the main activity in the sub-region involving about 90% of the total population of the West African population.

The southern parts of the sub-region along the West African coast-line are covered by dense tropical rain forests, rich in timber. Towards the north is the savannah belt, and further northwards – the Sahara Desert – which in recent years, has noticeably been advancing southwards. The climatic conditions vary – humid and wet in the south changing gradually to dry in the North.

The sub-region is endowed with the richest mineral, deposits in Africa. The mineral resources include, iron ore, bauxite, copper, crude oil, chromium, tin, manganese, gold, diamond, phosphate, silica and uranium. They make up the bulk of the community’s export trade with the outside world.

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The exportable agricultural resources of ECOWAS are many and they are: cocoa, coffee, timber, oil palm products, pineapple, rubber, cotton, ground-nuts etc.

The main industries are food processing, textiles, metallurgy, and production of chemicals.

Members of ECOWAS

There are 16 countries that make up ECOWAS and they are:



Cameroon Republic

Cape Verde





Ivory Coast or Cote d’Ivoire







Sierra Leone


Contact Details/Head Office of the Executive Secretariat of ECOWAS in Nigeria

101, Yakubu Gowon Crescent,

Asokoro District

Tel: 09-3147647-9, 3143005



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