ECOWAS—The Rise of West Africa
ECOWAS—The Rise of West Africa

ECOWAS—The Rise of West Africa

Introductory remarks by H.E. Ms. Youngor Telewoda, Ambassador of Liberia and Chairperson of the ECOWAS diplomatic Group in Tokyo.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was established on May 28, 1975, following consultations by leaders in the sub-region and in line with the call by the United Nations Economic Commissions for Africa’s regional entities to establish viable economic communities for the purpose of economic integration. Considered one of the pillars of the African Economic Community, ECOWAS was set up to foster the ideal of collective self-sufficiency for its member states. As a trading union, it is also meant to create a single, large trading bloc through economic cooperation.

Economic integration in the sub-region has a combined GDP of $734.8 billion generated by the following sectors; industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial issues, social as well as cultural matters. ECOWAS member states are located within an area of 5,112,903 sq. km; with an estimated population of 340 million.

The Vision of ECOWAS is the creation of a borderless region where the population has access to its abundant resources and is able to exploit same through the creation of opportunities. ECOWAS has created an integrated region where the population enjoys free movement, have access to efficient education and health systems and engage in economic and commercial activities while living in dignity in an atmosphere of peace and security. ECOWAS is meant to be a region governed in accordance with the principles of democracy, rule of law and good governance.

ECOWAS is made up of 15 countries located in the West African sub-region of Africa. The Member States, are namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape-Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. The ECOWAS Commission is the executive organ of ECOWAS. The Headquarters is based in Abuja, Nigeria. Its mission statement is to promote economic integration among the Regional group of 15 countries and beyond.

ECOWAS three main institutions

ECOWAS consists of three main institutions for the effective implementation of its policies, namely:

    1. The ECOWAS Commission.
    2. The ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).
    3. West African Health Organization (WAHO)

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We anticipate that the Forum has further deepened trade and investment opportunities as well as relationships between the ECOWAS sub-region, the Government of Japan as well as the Japanese private sector.

As part of its efforts to establish beneficial relation between Japan and the West African sub-region, the ECOWAS Diplomatic Group of Ambassadors in Tokyo hosted the First ECOWAS-JAPAN Business Forum, from 28–29 October, 2015 in Tokyo Japan. The event brought together government officials and members of the private sector from West Africa and Japan, to discuss and negotiate business initiatives beneficial to all parties. The event afforded the West African countries to showcase the investment opportunities available in the sub-region as well as explore the possibilities. The Forum also provided opportunity to the Japanese partners to appraise the array of investment opportunities available in the sub-region. As a follow-up to the 1st Business Forum, the ECOWAS Diplomatic Group is proposing a tour of the sub-region in conjunction with the ECOWAS Commission in 2016.

The ECOWAS Diplomatic Group appreciates the valuable efforts and support of the ECOWAS Commission, the Co-organizers, and Agencies for Promotion of Investments and the Chambers of Commerce in the ECOWAS Region and Japanese Institutions dedicated to International Cooperation and Economic Development for the successful hosting of the First ECOWAS-JAPAN Business Forum.

We anticipate that the Forum has further deepened trade and investment opportunities as well as relationships between the ECOWAS sub-region, the Government of Japan as well as the Japanese private sector.

For more information about ECOWAS, please visit the official website: www.ecowas.int.


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