The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) territory was formed in 1975, by 15 West African states with the objective to work together to promote a “common market.” They pledged to work together to encourage trade and economic development as a single unit, much like the European Economic Community (EEC) and NAFTA arrangements.
The member states are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo. With the population of just over 335 million, ECOWAS countries represents approximately one-third of sub-Saharan Africa’s total population.
Integrated economic activities as envisaged in the area that has a combined GDP of $734.8 billion, revolve around but are not limited to industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial issues, social as well as cultural matters, according to the ECOWAS website.
Aggressive economic rebuilding programs are in place or in progress in Ghana and many of the ECOWAS countries, and the governments encourage foreign trade. Money for projects is available from many sources such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations, and other foreign governments.