Is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) really working?

Filed under: Democracy & Governance |


The majority of the Africa continent is sometimes referred to as the developing world, it is a continent usually characterized by sicknesses and disease, hunger, poverty and other issues better known as negative. Even though some people on the African continent challenge this image in the world out there, saying that there are good things in Africa. Africa a land blessed with natural resources like gold, diamond, wild life and a very rich cultural heritage which fetch the country some tourism dollars. What is the African himself saying about the continent? The Development Talk column will critically look at some development issues that need to be tackled on the continent. How many of people in Ghana, Nigeria, Togo or Benin have access to quality health care, constant water flow, constant electricity, good roads, infrastructure in general.

What are the priorities of our various governments? Is it quality education for citizens or it’s one where officials who works in government have the opportunity to amass so much wealth to the disadvantage of the majority who wallow in poverty and illhealth? Development Talk seeks to focus on the E c o n omi c Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and her relationship with other countries and the rest of the world.

In recent times, for instance ECOWAS has been trying to transform from an ECOWAS characterized by heads of states and government officials to an ECOWAS where citizens of the various states communicate as one community. How far for instance is that gone? Do the citizenry really understand ECOWAS or there is some level of apathy among citizens due to the fact the for the number of years that ECOWAS has existed people have seen very little change.
The Ghanaian traders who travel by road to trade in neigbhouring La Cote d’Ivoire, do they feel the effects of ECOWAS, one of such traders Amina, said : “Whenever I am travelling from Ghana to Cote D’Ivoire, I have to carry an additional money which is used solely at the borders to enable me travel smoothly.”

If ECOWAS really want to emulate the European Union (EU) what are the steps that the organization for instance is using to attain that, because the opposite of what happens in ECOWAS is what happens in the EU.
Travelling by road from The Netherlands to Belgium, one only gets to know he or she is in Belgium when phone beeps with a text message that says “Welcome to Belgium”. There are absolutely no borders, yes no borders, that is what ECOWAS is preaching now “a borderless ECOWAS” but what is the progress. Isn’t it time for the various government to focus on giving their citizenry the best instead of amassing wealth for themselves and families? Isn’t it time for governments to ensure that the ordinary Nigerian or Ghanaian can have access to quality health care, quality education and an improved standard of living?

Development Talk will encourage responses from citizens of all ECOWAS nations. It is about time that West Africa talks development and so let’s starts talking….