ECOWAS means the Economic Community of West African States, also known as ECOWAS, is a regional political and economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa.
The union was established on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos for promoting economic integration across the region. A revised version of the treaty was agreed and signed on 24 July 1993 in Cotonou. The stated goal of ECOWAS is to achieve "collective self-sufficiency" for its member states.
ECOWAS also serves as a peacekeeping force in the region. In recent years these included interventions in Ivory Coast in 2003, Liberia in 2003, Guinea-Bissau in 2012, Mali in 2013, and The Gambia in 2017.
ECOWAS includes two sub-regional blocs:
• The West African Economic and Monetary Union (also known by its French-language acronym UEMOA) is an organisation of eight, mainly French-speaking, states within the ECOWAS which share a customs union and currency union. The currency they all use is the CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro.
• The West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), established in 2000, comprises six mainly English-speaking countries within ECOWAS which plan to work towards adopting their own common currency, the eco.
ECOWAS operates in three co-official languages—French, English, and Portuguese, and consists of five institutions to implement policies. The ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), formerly known as the Fund for Cooperation until it was renamed in 2001. In 1976 Cape Verde joined ECOWAS, and in December 2000 Mauritania withdrew, having announced its intention to do so in December 1999.
In 2011, ECOWAS adopted its development blueprint for the next decade, Vision 2020.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia