ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES (ECOWAS)
PROBLEMS FACED BY THE COMMISSION AND RESOLUTIONS
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional group of fifteen West African countries. It was founded on May 28, 1975, with the signing of the Lagos Treaty. Its mission is to promote economic integration among member states. As part of efforts to achieve the goal of economic integration, the commission has set up the ECOWAS Secretariat and the Fund for Cooperation, Compensation and Development as the two main institutions to implement policies. However, the commission faces a number of challenges in its pursuit towards creating a single large trading bloc. Some of these challenges are outlined below,
(1) Lack of common currency
Some member states lack a common currency within which to trade. This had lead to the formation of a collective union which is known as the West African Monetary Zone. (WAMZ) The WAMZ is made up of five countries namely Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The main aim of the WAMZ is to plan to introduce a common currency, the Eco by the year 2015. Already, eight states (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo) under the West African Economic and Monetary Union or UEMOA share a common currency, the CFA Franc, with the exception of Guinea Bissau which joined the group on UEMOA on May 2, 1997 and became the eighth member and only non- francophone member.
(2) Political Instability
Some states are still war tone areas thereby impeding the attaining of the goal of regional integration. Niger and Guinea were suspended from the community owing to a coup d’état and an auto coup respectively. ECOWAS announced the suspension of Niger from the organisation on 20 October 2009. ECOWAS demanded that Niger postpone its controversial 20th October elections. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the organisation stated that the decision to go ahead with elections in Niger...
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