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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS):

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is attempting to mediate to solve the crisis in Mali.

  • Since 1960, when Mali gained independence from France, there have been five coups — and only one peaceful transition from one democratically elected president to another.
  • Recent coup: Nine months ago, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was overthrown in the wake of mass anti-government protests. Last week, the announcement of a new cabinet was made that excluded two key military leaders. Following this, the army has detained the President and the Prime Minister.

About ECOWAS:

  • It is a regional political and economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa.
  • Established in 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos.
  • The goal of ECOWAS is to achieve “collective self-sufficiency” for its member states by creating a single large trade bloc by building a full economic and trading union.
  • It also serves as a peacekeeping force in the region.
  • Considered one of the pillar regional blocs of the continent-wide African Economic Community (AEC).
  • ECOWAS includes two sub-regional blocs:
    • The West African Economic and Monetary Union is an organization of eight, mainly French-speaking states.
    • The West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), established in 2000, comprises six mainly English-speaking countries.

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