The Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS is a regional organisation founded in 1975 with the Treaty of Lagos. It comprises the following West-African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Although its main area of action is regional economic integration, ECOWAS also undertakes Peacekeeping operations which are of vital importance to ensure Peace and Stability in the region.
The EU therefore has a continuous and long-standing political dialogue with ECOWAS. Regular Ministerial meetings, Senior Officials Meetings and interactions at other levels ensure a constant dialogue and a constructive exchange of views. The main EU-ECOWAS shared political priorities include Peace and Security, the fight against drugs and drug trafficking, migration issues and improved governance.
Under the European Development Fund (EDF), the EU-ECOWAS partnership is underpinned by a Regional Strategy, in the framework of Regional Indicative Programme (RIP), amounting to € 597 M for the 2008-2013 period. The RIP, along with the National Indicative Programs (NIP), provides the instruments necessary to promote further regional integration, as well as Peace and Security in West Africa.