ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES (ECOWAS):
Is a sub-regional economic organization established by sixteen West African States on the 28th of May 1975 with its headquarter now in Abuja, Nigeria.
AIMS/OBJECTIVES OF ECOWAS
1. To promote an increased co-operation and development in economic activities among member state.
2. To promote the living standard of people through increased trade and infrastructural development.
3. To promote economic stability especially in harmonizing the prices of Agricultural products.
4. To promote rapid development of the continent.
5. To remove all forms of tariff and quotas among member states.
6. To establish a common customs and commercial policy towards non-member states.
7. To eliminate all obstacles to free movement of goods and people.
INSTITUTIONAL ORGANS OF ECOWAS
1. The Authority of Heads of State and Government,
2. The council of Ministers. 3. The executive secretariat.
4. The fund for co-operation, compensation and development.
THE AUTHORITY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
This is the highest policy-making body of the organization, which is made up of Heads of States and government within the sub-region.
1. Appoints the executive secretary of the ECOWAS.
2. Takes decisions on issues relating to the economy of the sub-region.
3. Recommends the approval of council of ministers.
4. Approves all the organization’s treaties.
5. Approves proposals for the amendment of the organization’s charter.
THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
This organ consists of two representatives from each member state who usually meet twice yearly.
FUNCTIONS OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
1. Prepares meeting agenda of the Heads of States and government.
2. Implements the decisions and resolutions of the Authority of Heads of states and government.
3. Prepares the organization’s budget and forwards it to the Authority of Heads of states and government.
4. Recommends the appointment of executive secretary with their deputies.
5. Appoints the Managing Director for ECOWAS fund.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARIAT
This is the administrative headquarter of ECOWAS and has an executive secretary as the head, who holds office for four year term and may be re-elected after first tenure.
FUNCTIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARIAT
1. Handles all the organizations files, records and correspondences.
2. Handles the preparation of the organization’s annual budget.
3. Prepares meeting agenda.
4. Helps to formulate policies of the organization.
5. Runs the day-to-day administrative functions.
6. Controls the fund of the community.
ECOWAS FUND FOR CO-OPERATION, COMPENSATION AND DEVELOPMENT
This is the organ that handles the common account of the community in Lome, its Fund headquarters.
USES/FUNCTIONS OF THE ECOWAS FUND
1. To finance projects in member states.
2. To provide compensation to member states.
3. To guarantee foreign investments.
4. To promote development projects in less developed member states of the community.
THE TRIBUNAL AND THEIR FUNCTIONS
1. Interprets the treaty of the community and settles disputes among member states.
2. Ensures compliance and general adherence to ECOWAS laws and justice.
TECHNICAL/SPECIALIZED COMMISSION OF ECOWAS
The trade, customs, immigration, monetary and payments commission.
2. The transport, telecommunication and energy commission.
3. Industry, Agriculture and Natural Resources commission.
4. Social and Cultural Affairs Commission.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF ECOWAS
1. Trade liberalization among member states.
2. Promotion of bilateral and regional co-operations.
3. Promotion of common transport and communication system.
4. Promotion of unity and co-operation among member states.
5. Promotion of free movement of goods and people without visas to member states.
PROBLEMS / WEAKNESSES OF ECOWAS
1. Inadequate funding 2. Language barriers.
3. Political instability among member states
4. Lack of enthusiasm among member states.
5. Lack of unity in the affairs of member states.
6. Delay in ratification/implementation of decisions.
7. Low level of trade among West African countries.