Ecowas Integration Model, from Intergovernmentalism to Supranationalism by Proffessor. Muhammed Tawfiq Ladan, DG NIALS
Regional economic integration1 can be pursued either through an Intergovernmental2 or supranational3 approach. The economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was established by the founding Treaty of 1975 (the ECOWAS Treaty) to promote economic cooperation within the region4.
At its inception, the ECOWAS Treaty adopted an intergovernmental approach to governance of the integration process, ensuring that the Sovereignty of member states was left intact5. As a result, there was only a general undertaking in the Treaty that all member states shall make every effort in planning and directing their national policies to create favourable conditions for the achievement of community objectives6.
However, due to the failure7 of ECOWAS to achieve its stated goals and objectives, the Community embarked upon a reform agenda in order to accelerate the integration process and contribute effectively to regional development. The outcome of this reform agenda was the adoption of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty of 1993, which introduced a movement away from the 1975 intergovernmental approach to that of supranationality8.
The 1993 Revised ECOWAS Treaty re-affirmed the establishment of ECOWAS and decided under Article 2, that it shall ultimately be the sole economic community in the region for the purpose of economic integration9 and the realization of the objectives of the African Economic Community10. Under Article 6(2) of the 1993 Revised ECOWAS Treaty, the institutions of the Community established under Article 6(1) shall perform their functions and act within the limits of the powers conferred on them by the Revised Treaty and the Protocol relating thereto.