The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional economic community with a surface area of 3.8 million square miles, which encompasses 17% of the African continent. The fifteen member states are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. The ECOWAS Treaty (also known as the Treaty of Lagos) established the community when it was signed in Lagos, Nigeria, on May 28, 1975. A revised treaty was later signed on July 24, 1993.
As stated in the revised treaty of ECOWAS, the aims of the Community are:
• To promote cooperation and integration, leading to the establishment of an economic union in West Africa and raising the living standards of its people
• To maintain and enhance economic stability
• To foster relations among member states
• To contribute to the progress and development of the African continent