Economic Community of West African States
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a 15-member regional organization, established in 1975, with a mandate of promoting economic integration and shared development of West African sub-region (the member states include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo). Despite steady economic growth in several ECOWAS countries in recent years, ECOWAS is still facing a myriad of security and socioeconomic issues that threaten to shake the region’s relative stability and economic progress. The challenges range from terrorism and violent extremism, to piracy, political instability, elections-related violence, drug trafficking or deadly viruses. These, as well as other security and violence-related issues are hardly limited to one country alone but tend to lead to the spillover of instability across the region. As security in the sub-region remains tenuous and peace fragile and COVID-19 pandemics is seriously affecting national economies with the economic growth in the region forecasted to contract for about 3 % in 2020, bringing per capita incomes back to 2013 levels.
It is for these reasons that an effective and efficient early warning and response system that would provide information on the prevention, mitigation and subsequent response to crises is urgent in ECOWAS. A fully functioning early warning and response system would additionally help prevent the recurrence and relapse into conflict and contribute building more resilient communities in (West) Africa.
What we do
1. The Early Warning and Response Partnership (EWARP) supports information sharing, conflict prevention and crisis management among West African States. Through EWARP, ITF is working to develop a full spectrum of early warning capacity for ECOWAS and its member states so they can proactively identify emerging crises and improve their response mechanisms once a crisis begins.
As part of its activities, ITF is also engaged in process improvement and consolidation of M&E framework of EWD and process design for 15 ECOWAS National Centers for the Coordination of Early Warning and Response Mechanism (NCCRM) aiming at increasing effectiveness and cost efficiency of ECOWAS. In accordance with the Grant project plan, ITF supported establishment NCCRMs in first (5) five pilot states, namely Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Mali with Guinea Bissau. On the continental level ITF supported AU’s Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division with provision of embed support (Conflict Prevention Advisers) and capacity building for its analysts and colleagues from other divisions of AU’s Peace and Security Department.
The proposed activities shall contribute to stabilization of the delicate political, security and socio-economic landscape of ECOWAS region.
2. ITF is also strengthening the capacities in the ECOWAS Department for Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research, which are necessary for the coordination and supervision of Member States’ fiscal policies in the region. At the same time, it also enables ECOWAS Commission to transfer knowledge by training staff in the relevant ministries of the Member States to carry out analyzes and research in the field of fiscal policy and macroeconomic convergence analysis of ECOWAS countries, for example in value added tax harmonization. This project contributes to the development of efficient, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels and encourages the implementation of non-discriminatory sustainable development. With the content of these trainings, ITF directly encourages the preparation and implementation of such fiscal policies that take into account demographic trends, economic cyclicality, indebtedness of individual Member States, income inequality and effect of current COVID-19 pandemic.