|Economic Community of West African States|
|Headquarters|| Abuja, Nigeria
|-||President of the Commission||Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo|
|-||Speaker of the Parliament||Ike Ekweremadu|
|-||Treaty of Lagos||28 May 1975|
|-||Total||5,112,903 km2 (7th)
1,974,103 sq mi
|-||2011 estimate||300,000,000 (4th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
|-||Total||US$ 703,279 billion (23rd)|
|-||Per capita||US$ 2,500|
|Time zone||(UTC+0 to +1)|
|a.||If considered as a single entity.|
|b.||To be replaced by the eco in 2015.|
|c.||Liberia and Sierra Leone have expressed an interest in joining the eco.|
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS; French: Communauté économique des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest, CEDEAO) is a regional group of fifteen West African countries. Founded on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, its mission is to promote economic integration across the region.
Considered one of the pillars of the African Economic Community, the organization was founded in order to achieve "collective self-sufficiency" for its member states by creating a single large trading bloc through an economic and trading union. It also serves as a peacekeeping force in the region. The organization operates officially in three co-equal languages—French, English, and Portuguese.
The ECOWAS consists of two institutions to implement policies—the ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, formerly known as the Fund for Cooperation until it was renamed in 2001.
A few members of the organization have come and gone over the years. In 1976 Cape Verde joined ECOWAS, and in December 2000 Mauritania withdrew, having announced its intention to do so in December 1999.
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Politics and government of
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From 1977 to 2006 the post name was Executive Secretary
From the restructuring
The ECOWAS nation assigned a non-aggression protocol in 1990 along with two earlier agreements in 1978 and 1981. They also signed a Protocol on Mutual Defence Assistance in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 29 May 1981, that provided for the establishment of an Allied Armed Force of the Community.
The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice was created by a protocol signed in 1991 and was later included in Article 6 of the Revised Treaty of the Community in 1993. However, the Court didn’t officially begin operations until the 1991 protocol came into effect on 5 November 1996. The jurisdiction of the court is outlined in Article 9 and Article 76 of the Revised Treaty and allows rulings on disputes between states over interpretations of the Revised Treaty. It also provides the ECOWAS Council with advisory opinions on legal issues (Article 10). Like its companion courts the European Court of Human Rights and the East African Court of Justice, it has jurisdiction to rule on fundamental human rights breaches.
The West African Economic and Monetary Union (also known as UEMOA from its name in French, Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine) is an organization of eight West African states. It was established to promote economic integration among countries that share the CFA franc as a common currency. UEMOA was created by a Treaty signed at Dakar, Senegal, on 10 January 1994, by the heads of state and governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. On 2 May 1997, Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, became the organization’s eighth (and only non-Francophone) member state.
Among its achievements, the UEMOA has successfully implemented macro-economic convergence criteria and an effective surveillance mechanism. It has adopted a customs union and common external tariff and has combined indirect taxation regulations, in addition to initiating regional structural and sectoral policies. A September 2002 IMF survey cited the UEMOA as "the furthest along the path toward integration" of all the regional groupings in Africa.
ECOWAS and UEMOA have developed a common plan of action on trade liberalization and macroeconomic policy convergence. The organizations have also agreed on common rules of origin to enhance trade, and ECOWAS has agreed to adopt UEMOA’s customs declaration forms and compensation mechanisms.
Formed in 2000, the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) is a group of six countries within ECOWAS that plan to introduce a common currency, the Eco, by the year 2015. All the members of the group are English-speaking countries, apart from Guinea, which is Francophone. Along with Mauritania, Guinea opted out of the CFA franc currency shared by all other former French colonies in West and Central Africa.
The WAMZ attempts to establish a strong stable currency to rival the CFA franc, whose exchange rate is tied to that of the Euro and is guaranteed by the French Treasury. The eventual goal is for the CFA franc and Eco to merge, giving all of West and Central Africa a single, stable currency. The launch of the new currency is being developed by the West African Monetary Institute based in Accra, Ghana.
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