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John Mahama and the Destiny of ECOWAS

free trade

Photo Reporting: John Mahama and the Destiny of ECOWASJohn Mahama and the Destiny of ECOWAS

Why ECOWAS must accept EPAs with Relevant Statutory Consumer Rights and Regulations: Resisting Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Against the Backlash of a twitted US-EU Boko Haram internal security showdown


The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was created on 28 May 1975 by the Treaty of Lagos, in Lagos, Nigeria. It’ was created to promote economic trade, national cooperation, and monetary union, for growth and development throughout West Africa. Its four commissions deal with the following functions: Trading, immigration, monetary interaction; industry, natural resources, and agriculture; transportation and communications and social and cultural issues. The 15 pioneer members were: Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania (left 2002), Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Burkina Faso (then, Upper Volta). Cape Verde joined in 1977. A revised treaty intended to accelerate integration of economic policy and improve political cooperation was signed on 24 July 1993. It sets out the goals of a common economic market, a single currency, the creation of a West African parliament, economic and social councils, and a court of justice. The treaty also lays the burden of settling regional conflicts on the treaty members. To this end there is also a Mutual Defence Protocol: a non-standing army deployed in the region as ECOMOG. [1]


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The legal framework of EPAs is defined by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules- Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) pertaining to Regional Trade Agreements, and the Cotonou Agreement which governs the EU-ACP relationship. One of the WTO’s fundamental principles is non discrimination among Members. Based on the so-called ‘most-favoured-nation’ (MFN) treatment, WTO Members are called to guarantee identical trade concessions to all of their (WTO members) trading partners. However, some exceptions are allowed. Art XXIV of GATT 1947 enables the conclusion of RTAs provided that some basic conditions are met. According to Article XXIV of GATT, free trade agreements (FTAs) and customs unions enable closer economic integration and may facilitate trade between contracting parties. As a rule, regulations applicable to a new FTA entity should not be more restrictive and duties should not be higher than any of those existing before its creation. Furthermore, interim agreements must be transformed into fully-fledged FTAs (or customs unions) within a reasonable period of time. (GATT 1947, Art 1 (General Most-Favoured-Nation Treatment)[2]



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