The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Treaty is a multilateral agreement signed by the member states that made up the Economic Community of West African States. The initial treaty was signed by the Heads of States and Governments of the then 16 member states in 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria. With new developments and mandates for the Community a revised treaty was signed in Cotonou, the Benin Republic in July 1993 by the heads of states and government of the now 15 member states.

The signing of the revised treaty further bound the sovereign states into agreeing on 93 different Articles, which they have agreed to work together as a single regional economic block. By signing the revised treaty member states reaffirmed the Treaty establishing the Economic Community of West African States signed in Lagos on 28 May 1975 and considered its achievements. The member states were conscious of the overriding need to encourage, foster, and accelerate the economic and social development of member States in order to improve the living standards of the people. Therefore,  the Heads of States and Government were convinced that the promotion of harmonious economic development of the States called for effective economic cooperation and integration largely through a determined and concerted policy of self-reliance they took into consideration the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Declaration of Political Principles of the Economic Community of West African States adopted in Abuja by the Fourteenth Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on 6 July, 1991 and were further convinced that the integration of the Member States into a viable regional Community may demand the partial and gradual pooling of national sovereignties to the Community within the context of a collective political will.

They, therefore, accepted the need to establish Community Institutions vested with relevant and adequate powers, noting that the present bilateral and multilateral forms of economic cooperation within the region open up perspectives for more extensive cooperation. The Heads of States and Government on behalf of their countries accepted the need to face together the political, economic, and socio-cultural challenges of the present and the future, and to pool together the resources of their peoples while respecting their diversities for the most rapid and optimum expansion of the region’s productive capacity. They further took into consideration the Lagos Plan of Action and the Final Act of Lagos of April 1980 stipulating the establishment, by the year 2000, of an African Economic Community based on existing and future regional economic communities and was mindful of the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community signed in Abuja on 3 June 1991.

They then affirmed that the final goal is the accelerated and sustained economic development of Member States, culminating in the economic union of West Africa, similarly, they took note of their earlier decision relating to the establishment of a Committee of Eminent Persons to submit proposals for the review of the Treaty, which arose from the need for the Community to adapt to the changes on the international scene in order to derive greater benefits from those changes and considering also the need to modify the Community’s strategies in order to accelerate the economic integration process in the region, as well as the need to share the benefits of economic co-operation and integration among the Member States in a just and equitable manner.

The fifteen member states then decided to revise the Treaty of 28 May 1975 establishing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and have accordingly agreed to a Revised Treaty of 24th July 1993.

Source: https://www.ecowas.int/ecowas-law/treaties/

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