The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional grouping of fifteen countries, founded in 1975, to achieve economic integration and shared development, so as to form a unified economic zone in West Africa. Economic integration is promoted in all fields of economic activity, particularly industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, social and cultural matters.
The Heads of State and Government broke with the past by their decision to transform the ECOWAS Secretariat into a Commission.
The ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) is the financial arm of ECOWAS and has the status of an international financial institution. It had two subsidiaries namely:
- ECOWAS Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which focused on public sector financing;
- ECOWAS Regional Investment Bank (ERIB which was dedicated to private sector financing.
ECOWAS has embarked on the harmonization of economic and financial policies through a multilateral surveillance mechanism adopted in December 1999 by the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government. Comparable economic data are an essential requirement for the evaluation of the process.
With European Commission funding, the Executive Secretariat is promoting a statistical programme, including:
- comparability of national accounts;
- comparability of consumer price indices;
- producing and distributing external trade statistics;
- creating a database for the multilateral surveillance mechanism;
- providing institutional support to the Executive Secretariat and national statistical offices.
The 2006-2010 Regional statistical programme was adopted by the ECOWAS Summit of Heads of State and Government in January 2006. The main objective of the programme is to create the conditions for each country of the Community to be empowered to produce the minimum statistical information needed for decision-making by national and international public authorities as well as socio-economic operators.
Eight priority areas have been selected :
1. Legal framework and coordination of statistical systems ;
2. National Accounts;
3. Economic and social situation;
4. Dissemination of statistical data;
5. Statistics for the monitoring of household living conditions;
6. Agricultural statistics;
7. External trade statistics;
8. Public finances, monetary statistics and balance of payments.
Another project, entitled “Strengthening Statistical Capacity Building in support of the Millennium Development Goals in the region of the Economic Community of West African States” has been supported by UNSD in collaboration with the ECOWAS Secretariat and aims at strengthening the national statistical systems in the 15 countries of the ECOWAS region. Advisory services, fellowship programmes and a series of sub-regional events (training workshops) constitute the core activities under this project. Follow up activities are taking place on environmental statistics.
Received 2008. Update 2010 pending