Africa’s leading Regional Economic Community, the 15 member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was established in 1975 to enhance the economic integration and cooperation among its Member States. Originally, a community of 16 States including Mauritania, the ultimate objective was the creation of an economic and monetary union, epitomized by the free movement of persons, goods, capital and services as well as a common commercial policy and a Common External Tariff (CET) regime.

In response to the dynamics of the regional and international environments and informed by the lessons of  its experience, deeper cooperation on peace and security matters were added to the mandate and ambitions of the Community under its 1993 revised Treaty. The sister West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) popularly known as UEMOA was created in 1994 has realized the ambitions of a customs union and a currency