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Economic Community of West African States


Recently, the military regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger announced their immediate withdrawal from the West African bloc ECOWAS.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. ECOWAS: Fostering Integration and Stability in West Africa
  2. ECOWAS and India

ECOWAS: Fostering Integration and Stability in West Africa

Establishment and Mandate:
  • Founded in 1975 through the Lagos Treaty.
  • Also known as CEDEAO (in French).
  • Headquarters located in Abuja, Nigeria.
  • Mandate: Promoting economic integration among member states.
Economic Integration and Vision:
  • Aims for a single common currency and a large trading bloc.
  • Focus on industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, finance, and culture.
  • Vision: Creating a “borderless region” based on democracy, rule of law, and good governance.
  • Vision 2050: Transforming from “ECOWAS of States” to “ECOWAS of the People: Peace and Prosperity to All.”
Role in Conflict Resolution:
  • ECOWAS strives to end military conflicts in the region.
  • Established ECOMOG (Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group) for regional peacekeeping.
  • ECOMOG deployed forces in Liberia (1990) and Sierra Leone (1997) during civil unrest.
  • 2017 intervention in The Gambia to resolve political crisis.
Recent Challenges and Actions:
  • Suspended Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso following coups.
  • ECOWAS refused to recognize new governments in these countries.
  • Demonstrates commitment to upholding democratic norms and stability.
ECOWAS and India:
  • India has Observer status with ECOWAS since 2004, fostering strong ties.
  • India extends Line of Credit (LOCs) to support ECOWAS’ regional integration and development efforts.
  • Collaboration provides opportunities for Indian companies in sectors like energy, telecom, and transportation in West Africa.
  • ECOWAS has supported India’s bid for a seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024