The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 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—English, French, and Portuguese. The ECOWAS consists of two institutions to implement policies, the ECOWAS Secretariat and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, formerly known as the Fund for Cooperation until it was renamed in 2001. James Victor Gbeho, the Advisor to the President of Ghana on Foreign Affairs, currently serves as the President of the commission. The current chairman is President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria. 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.
Regional Security Cooperation
The ECOWAS nation assigned a non-aggression protocol in 1990 long 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 Community Court of Justice
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.[7] 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 possess authority over fundamental human rights breaches.


The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was created on May 28, 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria. ECOWAS aims at promoting cooperation and integration with the establishment of a West African economic union as an ultimate goal. It is aimed at improving the living standard of the people, ensuring economic growth and strengthening relations between Member States. In order to achieve these goals, ECOWAS has set up a number of structures entrusted with the preparation, implementation and evaluation of the Community programmes and projects. ECOWAS has many achievements to its credit, in particular in the areas of free movement of people and goods, transport, telecommunications, management of conflicts and peace-keeping.

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