Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ECOWAS

Mains level : Not much

West African leaders were due to meet in Ghana to discuss a response to Mali’s second coup in nine months.

  • Since 1960, when Mali gained independence from France, there have been five coups — and only one peaceful transition from one democratically elected president to another.
  • But on Monday, soldiers detained transitional President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, releasing them on Thursday while saying that they had resigned.

Recent coup

  • Nine months ago, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was overthrown in the wake of mass anti-government protests.
  • Last week, the announcement of a new cabinet was made that excluded two key military leaders. Following this, the army has detained the President and the Prime Minister.


  • The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional group of fifteen countries, founded in 1975 via the treaty of Lagos.
  • Mission: To promote economic integration in “all fields of economic activity, particularly industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, social and cultural matters.
  • Vision: Creation of a borderless region where the population has access to its abundant resources and is able to exploit same through the creation of opportunities under a sustainable environment.
  • ECOWAS can be divided into two sub-regional blocs:
  1. West African Economic and Monetary Union – established in 1994
  2. West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) – established in 2000
  • ECOWAS is meant to be a region governed in accordance with the principles of democracy, rule of law and good governance.
  • The member countries of ECOWAS comprises: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.

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