Contributory Factors To Formation Of ECOWAS

Economic of West African State ECOWAS and SADC Southern African Development are two of the numerous regional integration bodies in Africa. While ECOWAS is one of the bodies that focus on West African economies, SADC focuses on southern African Economies.

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ECOWAS is a regional body created on 25th May, 1975 during its first conference in Lagos, where it treaty was signed. The idea of having a united west African body was first proposed by the then Nigerian head of staff, Yakubu Gowon. His idea was to collectively achieve a self-sufficiency through integration of the sixteen West African countries into an economic block with a single market controlled around an economic and monetary union.the community started with a5 members. Later on Cape Verde joined in 1976, but Mutituana withdrew it membership in December 2000. At the moment, the commission has 15 members namely Benin, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Sierra Leone ,Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Togo, Gambia, Cape Verde and Burkina Faso. Niger and Guinea have both been suspended due to coup d’etat incidences. in detail, the main objective of ECOWAS is to promote co-operation and integration in order to create an economic and monetary union for encouraging economic growth and development in West Africa, through:

The suppression of customs duties and equivalent taxes
the establishment of a common external tariff;
the harmonization of economic and financial policies
the creation of a monetary zone.

However, due to the slow pace encountered in implementing this treaties, the treaty was revised in Continuo in Benin on July 23, 1993. The new treaty adopted a less rigid collaboration. The new treaty subdivided ECOWAS into The Commission, The Community Parliament, The Community Court OF Justice, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID). These institutions are intended to be the tools used to implement their policies.

Southern African Development Community (SADC), in like manner, is a regional integration body that encapsulates Southern African countries. It is an intergovernmental organization that primarily aims at achieving greater socio-economic corporation and integration as well as political and security collaborations among it 15 member states. The current day SADC is actually product of the formerly existing Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), which was formed in 1980. As the name of SADCC implies, it was only a conference since 1980 until the treaty was signed in Windhoek, Namibia, on 17th august, 1992 and SADC was formally created. After the signing of the treaty, it seized from being a coordinated conference to being a development community. The members are mainly southern African countries, namely: Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The core objectives of SADC are:

Harmonise political and socio-economic policies and plans of Member States;

Mobilise the peoples of the region and their institutions to take initiatives to develop economic, social and cultural ties across the region, and to participate fully in the implementation of the programmes and projects of SADC;

Create appropriate institutions and mechanisms for the mobilisation of requisite resources for the implementation of the programmes and operations of SADC and its institutions;

Develop policies aimed at the progressive elimination of obstacles to free movement of capital and labour, goods and services, and of the peoples of the region generally within Member States;

Promote the development of human resources;

Promote the development, transfer and mastery of technology;

Improve economic management and performance through regional cooperation;

Promote the coordination and harmonisation of the international relations of Member States;

Secure international understanding, cooperation and support, mobilise the inflow of public and private resources into the region; and

Develop such other activities as Member States may decide in furtherance of the objectives of SADC.

On 14 August 2001, the 1992 SADC treaty was revised. The revision shows a change in the structure, policies and measures of SADC. One of the transformations is that political and security cooperation is included in the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security (OPDS). To achieve it objectives, the organisation was subdivided into 8 bodies. i.e. The Summit, comprising heads of state or heads of government, are at the top .OPDS, the Council of Ministers, Tribunal, SADC National Committees (SNCs), and the Secretariat.

The formation of both bodies (ECOWAS and SADC) have been necessitated and expedited by many factors ranging from social, geographic, economic, political and security factors. In the subsequent chapter, we shall discuss these factors in detail.

Economic Factors

Economic factor is one important factor that contributed to the formation of ECOWAS and SADC. Normally countries where they form economic Integration they have stable and close economic condition. The aim of this chapter is to compare the economic condition of member of ECOWAS and SADC. In this chapter we will investigate about key economic Indicators such as GDP (PPP), GDP (real growth rate), and Inflation Rate, Exchange rate, Current account balance and Central bank discount rate.

GDP (Purchasing power parity )

First Key indicator is GDP (PPP). Following graph shows the difference between members of ECOWAS. The average GDP of ECOWAS is 35.63 Billion. Nigeria got the highest GDP between member rest of countries are bellow 50 billion USD per year.

So we can say somehow they have similar condition in GDP (PPP) and their GDP is almost close to each other.

GDP – Real growth rate

Second Economic factor is Real GDP growth rate, because of 2009 finical crisis we cannot have clear picture of economic growth of ECOWAS, however the graph shows that only one member of ECOWAS experienced negative growth rate in 2009 and rest of countries experienced positive growth rate. The average growth rate is 3.2

Inflation rate

Average inflation in ECOWAS is 6.08% and Ghana got the highest inflation rate in ECOWAS which is 19.6% , and Niger got the lowest interest rate which is 0.1%

Exchange Rate

6 members of 15 members of ECOWAS use one kind of currency which Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) and their exchange rate is 1 USD = 481.35 XOF. So using one single currency make it easier for countries to form and an economic integration and member of ECOWAS have this advantage and it make them to be more successful to reach their economic goals

Current Account Balance:

Following graph shows the current account balance of ECOWAS member. CoteDIvoire is the only country which had positive current account balance in year 2009 which was 65 Million USD. Average current account balance is negative – $16440 million.

Central Bank Discount rate

8 members of ECOWAS have same central bank discount rate which is 4.75%. highest discount rate between member countries belongs to Ghana. Having same discount rate is positive points for countries where they want to form an Economic Integration.

GDP (Purchasing power parity )

First Kye indicator is GDP (PPP). Following graph shows the difference between members of SADC. The average GDP of ECOWAS is 76.67 Billion. South Africa got the highest GDP between member most of countries are bellow 25 billion USD per year.

So we can say somehow they have similar condition in GDP (PPP) and their GDP is almost close to each other.

GDP – Real growth rate

Second Economic factor is Real GDP growth rate, because of 2009 finical crisis we cannot have clear picture of economic growth of SADC, however the graph shows that 6 members of SADC experienced negative growth rate in 2009 and rest of countries experienced positive growth rate. The average growth rate is 0.33

Inflation rate

Average inflation in SADC is 10.51%. Seychelles got the highest inflation rate in SADC which is 34%, In other hand Mauritius got the lowest interest rate which is 0.1%. over all they have similar condition.

Exchange Rate

Average exchange rate between SADC member countries is 1 USD = 836.1. The highest rate belongs to Lesotho and the lowest rate is for Zambia.

Current Account Balance:

Following graph shows the current account balance of SADC members. 3 countries have positive current account balance in year 2009. The average Current account balance is – $165 Million. Angola got the best situation which shows that Angola’s export is higher than its Import. However the rest of members got almost similar condition and their balance is almost near each other

Central Bank Discount rate

Following graph shows central bank’s discount rate of SADC members the lowest rate belongs to Mozambique which is 9.95 and highest belongs to Angola which is 19.57. the average rate is 13.65%.If we look closely we can see that the rates are very close to each other. and lending condition is almost similar in members country.

Social and cultural factor

By overview the factor of formation of both African union (ECOWAS and SADC), similarity of society can be claim as one of the factor toward the formation for both of the union. Due to geographical reason, nations that locate in same regions will affect each other in any of their decision making. Moreover, society daily activity or culture may also spread easier from one nation to another within a region due to easier of contact in geographical reason.

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was created on May 28, 1975 by signed of Treaty of Lagos. It is a regional group of 16 West African countries namely, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ ivore, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and lastly Togo. ECOWAS was form for the purpose to achieve “collective self-sufficient” for the member states by means of economic and monetary union creating a single large trading bloc. Despite the wide variety of cultures in West Africa, from Nigeria through to Senegal, there are general similarities in dress, cuisine, music and culture that are not shared extensively with groups outside the geographic region.

Islam is the predominant historical religion of the West African interior and the far west coast of the continent; Christianity is the predominant religion in coastal regions of Nigeria, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire; and elements of indigenous religions are practiced throughout. Along with historic migrations, these religions have culturally linked the peoples of West Africa more than those in other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Traditionally, musical and oral history as conveyed over generations by Griots are typical of West African culture. Many of the religious practices are Islamic, but most are Christian. However, over 50% of the West African populations are Islamic.

Mbalax, Highlife, Fuji and Afro beat are all modern musical genres which enjoin listeners in this region. A typical formal attire worn in this region is the flowing Boubou (also known as Agbada and Babariga), which has its origins in the clothing of nobility of various West African empires in the 12th century. The Djembe drum, whose origins lie with the Mandinka peoples, is now a popularly played drum among many West African ethnic groups. The Kora is a 21-string harp-lute of Mandinkan origin, played by various groups in the region. The Djembe, Kora, the silk Kente cloth of the Akan. Peoples of Ghana and the distinct Sudano-Sahelian architectural style seen in the many mosques of the region are the primary symbolic icons of West African culture. The game Oware is quite popular in many parts of West Africa. Soccer is also a pastime enjoyed by many, either spectating or playing. The national teams of some West African nations, especially Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, regularly qualify for the World Cup.

Britain controlled The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Nigeria throughout the colonial era, while France unified Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Niger into French West Africa. Portugal founded the colony of Guinea-Bissau, while Germany claimed Togoland, but was forced to divide it between France and Britain following First World War. Only Liberia retained its independence, at the price of major territorial concessions.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) was formed in 1980. The origins of SADC lie in the 1960s and 1970s, when the leaders of majority-ruled countries and national liberation movements coordinated their political, diplomatic and military struggles to bring an end to colonial and white-minority rule in southern Africa. The immediate forerunner of the political and security cooperation leg of today’s SADC was the informal Front Line States (FLS) grouping. SADC do have 15 members (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Mauritius, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Seychelles, and Madagascar(suspended)) which all of them are from southern part of Africa.

Southern Africa is home to many cultures and people. It was once populated by San, Namaqua and Pygmies in widely-dispersed concentrations. Due to the Bantu expansion which edged the previous peoples to the more remote areas of the region, the majority of ethnic groups in this region, including the Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Ndebele, Tswana, Sotho, and Shona people, BaLunda, Mbundu, Kikuyu and Luo, speak languages which share common Bantu language traits. The process of colonization and settling resulted in a significant population of European (Afrikaners, Anglo-Africans, Portuguese Africans, etc.) and Asian descent (Cape Malays, Koreans, Indians, etc.) in many southern African countries. The region has a wide diversity of ecoregions including grassland, bushveld, karoo, savanna and riparian zones. Even though considerable disturbance has occurred in some regions from habitat loss due to human overpopulation, there remain significant numbers of various wildlife species, including White Rhino, lion, leopard, impala, kudu, blue Wildebeest, Vervet monkey and elephant. Moreover most of the southern Africa country did produce raw material like gold, diamonds, and iron ore.

Political and security factors

Besides trade and the benefit of the efficiencies of a regional market, the reason for the establishment of a regional block, is to promote political progress, more especially for government which have been installed due to majority votes of its electorates and the population in a democratic election. The report stresses democratically elected government for a few reasons:

To ensure that checks and balances are properly in place, thereby preventing against the concentration of power in a particular political office.

To ensure that the views of the people are properly addressed, somewhat ensuring that the government is installed to ensure socio-economic development.

These and some others are the reasons why we focus on democratically elected government.

Furthermore, there are presently 16 countries in the ECOWAS, with the exception of Republic of Guinea and the Republic of Niger which recently were taken over by military juntas ( more on these nations will follow ) all the other members of the ECOWAS countries are ruled by democratically elected governments.


In December of 2008 a military coup led by a junior officer in the Guinean army, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, seized power in a bloodless coup after the death of president Lansana conte, after years of hanging on to power. As mention earlier, the report focuses on democratic governments and this was displayed when people were killed by the military under the new government. Human Rights Watch accused members of the presidential guard of carrying out a premeditated massacre of at least 150 people at the rally and raping dozens of women.


The ousted president of the republic is president Mamadou Tandja, who dissolved parliament after the country’s constitutional court ruled against plans to hold a referendum on whether to allow him a third term in office. According to the constitution, a new parliament was elected within three months.This touched off a political struggle between Tandja, trying to extend his term-limited authority beyond 2009 through the establishment of a Sixth Republic, and his opponents who demanded that he step down at the end of his second term in December 2009.

Besides the example of Guinea and Niger, the political situation in the western Africa sub region, have been marred by conflicts, civil, societal, political and violent changes in government and revolts.

In Sierra Leone, the Congo and Liberia, we have conflicts that erupted from the disagreements for the control of the nations vast deposits of Diamonds. This act put these countries in a state of chaos, and also led to the enslavement of individuals, some of whom were used to mine for diamonds at gun point. There were also reports of child soldiers in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The conflict in sierra loane was reportedly initiated by a former corporal in the sierra leoeneian army, Foday Sanko, and he was rumored to be supported by former rebel leader and president of Liberia president Charles Taylor. After years of conflicts, these nations have however achieved relative peace, with new and hopefully stable democratic governments.

The political situation in the southern region of Africa is one of relative peace and stability. With the exception of Zimbabwe which has had some unrest due to a change in government policies and a shift in the political situation of the nation. The same also lies for Madagascar, which had a change of government in a bloodless coup, by the mayor of the capital (Antananarivo); the nation was subsequently suspended from the SADC after the fact.

Regional peace and security

ECOWAS became concerned early on with peace and regional security which are necessary factors in the socio-economic development of the Member States. Thus, the Authority of Heads of State and Government adopted a non-aggression protocol in 1978, a defence assistance protocol in 1981 and a declaration of political principles in July 1991. This declaration which is a plea for democratic principles in the sub-region condemns unequivocally any seizure of power by force of arms. It must also be pointed out that in 1990 the Authority of Heads of State and Government created an ECOWAS cease-fire follow-up group called ECOMOG. This peace-keeping force had cause to intervene in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau.


After it had been deployed in the Republic of Liberia in August 1990, ECOMOG worked there to restore peace, ensure security and law and order. It also engaged in many humanitarian activities aimed at reducing the sufferings of the people. In sum, ECOMOG helped considerably to create favourable conditions for the holding in Liberia of the free and democratic presidential and parliamentary elections of 19 July 1997.

Eleven Member States of ECOWAS provided contingents for the operations in Liberia these are: Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo.Two other African States also participated, Uganda and Tanzania.


The intervention of ECOMOG forces in Sierra Leone occurred following the overthrow of the lawful government of this country headed by President Ahmed Teejan KABBAH. In February 1998, ECOMOG restored constitutional legality and reinstated the government of the democratically elected President.

All the antagonists in the conflict, namely, the lawful government, the RUF rebels and the members of the (AFRC) military Junta signed in Lome in September 1999 an agreement protocol on the final settlement of the Sierra Leonean crisis. Following the appeals made to the international community for it to give meaningful assistance for a final restoration of peace, a United Nations peace-keeping force “UNAMSIL” replaced ECOMOG forces in Sierra Leone. The ECOWAS countries which provided contingents for ECOMOG operations in Sierra Leone are Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Nigeria.


In June 1998, units of the armed forces of Guinea Bissau led by the former Chief of Defence Staff went into rebellion. On account of the bilateral defence and security agreements that linked his country to Guinea and Senegal, President Joao Bernardo Vieira asked for the intervention of the armed forces of these two countries. At the request of the lawful authorities of Guinea Bissau and in order to reaffirm its support for the elected government of Guinea Bissau, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government decided to restore peace and reinstate President Vieira in authority over the entire country. A mechanism for supervision and control of the cease-fire was set up by ECOWAS with the contingents of soldiers sent by Benin, Niger and Togo.

In spite of the numerous cease-fire agreements signed between the parties to the conflict in Guinea Bissau, the democratically elected government of President Vieira was finally overthrown. Drawing lessons from this failure and in order to reinforce peace and security in West Africa, the Executive Secretariat of ECOWAS initiated the establishment of a mechanism for the prevention, management and settlement of conflicts and for the maintenance of peace and security in the sub-region.

The ECOWAS Mechanism For Conflict Prevention, Management And Resolution, Peace-Keeping And Security

Our sub-region has been ravaged in recent times by violent upheavals which, each time, have resulted in the wholesale loss of human lives, wanton destruction of property, and suffering and desolation for the innocent civilian population.

These civilians are frequently pushed by famine and disease into taking refuge in neighboring countries or becoming displaced persons within their own countries.

It is fortunate that on each occasion, the ECOWAS sub-region, unlike the other regions in Africa, has been able to set in motion ad hoc conflict resolution procedures which have made it possible to circumscribe its crises. ECOWAS peace-keeping activities have in the main been considered commendable despite a few shortcomings noted.

However, in view of the heavy human, material and financial cost of such conflicts and their negative impact on the development of the states concerned and on the sub-regional integration process, it has now become necessary to shift emphasis from conflict resolution to conflict prevention.

To this end, but also for better management of full scale conflicts as well as internal crises which are now the most common, the Heads of States and Government decided at their meeting in Lome on 17 December 1997, to establish a mechanism for conflict prevention, management and resolution and for peace-keeping. The scope of the mechanism would be extended to include security-related issues.

With respect to conflict prevention, management and resolution, appropriate proposals were advanced regarding the establishment of an observation and monitoring system and a number of organs that would assist in containing and defusing imminent conflicts. The observation system would consist essentially in the establishment of a regional network within which states would be grouped into zones. A Regional Observation and Monitoring Centre should be established within the Executive Secretariat to give warning of impending crisis. All information having a bearing on regional peace an security collected by zonal bureaux would be transmitted to the centre. The centre will record and analyze all such data and take action on any signs of a breakdown in relations between Member States or of alarming socio-political developments within Member States. Four (4) observation centers were created with headquarters in Banjul (The Gambia), Cotonou (Benin), Monrovia (Liberia) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). The necessary political implications can quickly be drawn and appropriate measures taken. To facilitate this process, it is proposed that a Council of Elders and a Mediation and Security Council should be established.

It was proposed to use African traditional practice as a guide and establish a Committee of Elders made up of eminent personalities from the sub-region, Africa and beyond, who would use their vast experience, good offices and competence on behalf of ECOWAS to play the role of mediator, conciliator and arbiter. Its members would be chosen by the Executive Secretary in consultation with the Chairman of Council as and when the need arose.

A Mediation and Security Council comprising nine Member States will be empowered, on behalf of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, to take such emergency decisions as may be required in crisis situations. It is proposed that the Mediation and Security Council should consist of 9 Member States elected for a two year mandate, and that the current and immediate past chair should have automatic membership on the Council. The Council may consider and make recommendations on issues within its area of competence within any or all of the following bodies: the Committee of Ambassadors of the nine (9) Member States; the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Internal Affairs and Security, and the meeting of Heads of State of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council.

These different bodies may solicit the opinion of defense and Security Commission. Membership of the Commission shall be dictated by the issues for discussion. Member States may therefore be represented by their Chief of Staff, security chiefs, experts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, heads of immigration, Customs, narcotics, or border patrols. The Commission shall examine the technical aspects of defense matters and advise on the requirements of the administration and logistics support for peace-keeping operations.

In cases of armed conflict, ECOWAS shall employ both political and military intervention. The term ECOMOG shall continue to designate the military instrument of ECOWAS. ECOMOG shall be based on a standby arrangement involving the use of national contingents that shall be earmarked, trained and equipped, and organised for deployment at short notice.

Another major innovation is the proposal that ECOWAS should intervene to undertake peace-keeping operations in internal conflict where the situation:

– threatens to trigger a humanitarian disaster;

– pose a serious threat to peace and security in the sub-region;

– erupts following the overthrow or attempted overthrow of a democratically-elected government.

The draft mechanism lays down the procedure to be followed where the decision is taken to intervene. Proposals are also made regarding the composition of ECOMOG, its chain of command, duties and functions and funding for administrative and logistics support.

In order to correct the impression that ECOWAS has failed, in previous operations, to adequately support its peace-keeping operations with humanitarian action, it is suggested that, in situations of conflicts or natural disasters, ECOWAS should ensure a high profile with regard to alleviating the suffering of the populace and hastening the return of normalcy. A number of recommendations were made in respect of this and of peace-building.

The scope of the mechanism was widened to include security issues, in accordance with the directives of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs and Security.

A number of recommendations in the draft mechanism attempt to address the concerns of our leaders concerning the movement of light weapons and ammunitions and the increasing incidence of cross-border crime.

The Executive Secretariat has sought to combat small arms proliferation more effectively by preparing a draft declaration of a moratorium on light weapons based on the moratorium presented by Mali on the importation, exportation and manufacture of light weapons and the Programme for Coordination and Assistance for Security and Development (PCASED).

The draft declaration has been adopted by the Heads of State and Government.

The European Union generously made available to ECOWAS an amount of 1.9 million Euros for undertaking certain operational activities of the mechanism.

Having addressed the issue of a security outfit in western Africa, it is worthy to note that the SADC does not have an established military outfit.



The community adopted objectives to look out for the welfare of the member states. In dealing with matters of anything against this i.e violation of human rights all must be put in correcting and condemning such situations. However this has not been the case on the ongoing Zimbabwean catastrophe, in fact this is one of SADC s biggest failures. In attending to the matter in which Robert Mugabe has been in power for 40years now, in which he unlawfully took land from white people who contributed a lot to the economy through farming giving it to poor black people who cannot even do anything with it, breaking his own black people’s houses. The opposition took a stand against all the wrong that was going wrong in the country earning many of them brutal military attacks, many died, many imprisoned for no good reason the opposition leader even ran to Botswana after alleged rumors of plots to kill him by the Robert-led millitary. All that SADC did was send the former South-African president Thabo Mbeki for peace talks between the ruling ZANUPF and the opposition MDC. This effort could be applauded however Thabo Mbeki happens to be one of Robert’s best friends back from the colonialism days they fought for freedom together, which is why he and SADC adopted the “silent diplomacy” way to go about the matter. This proved very useless the situation worsened civilians were killed everyday for opposing the ruling party, many people died of diseases even worse the economy collapsed, taking things to the core the world imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. The world spoke SADC kept saying we will do things our way. This is to say SADC needs more efficient, effective and stronger methods in matters involving people’s lives. They should condemn when democracy is not well practiced only Botswana and Namibia took a strong stance to say ‘this is inhuman and the situation should be given more seriousness”. Silent diplomacy is not working more power-backed methods must be put in place to see to it that people’s rights are not violated ,democracy an rule of law are seen to.

There is a continuing loss of millions of lives to HIV/AIDS but the message is being spread on how to prevent infection. It then becomes a problem when a prominent leader in society like Jacob Zuma the current South-African president promotes promiscuity otherwise. The man is married to five women but 2years back he was involved in a rape scandal in which he was alleged to have raped an HIV positive women knowing of her status but not caring to get infected and passing it on to his wife. The man hid behind culture