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Economic Community of West African States

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), organization established in 1975 to increase economic cooperation and development in West Africa. Members include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria, ECOWAS has two main institutions: the ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development; it also has a Community Court of Justice. ECOWAS formulates and implements projects in areas such as transportation, telecommunications, agriculture, water resources, and energy, and also maintains multilateral peacekeeping forces, which have deployed to restore or preserve order at different times in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and Gambia.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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