The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Established on May 28 1975 via the treaty of Lagos, ECOWAS is a 15-member regional group with a mandate of promoting economic integration in all fields of activity of the constituting countries and to foster the ideal of collective self-sufficiency for its member states. As a trading union, it is also meant to create a single, large trading bloc through economic cooperation.
Integrated economic activities as envisaged in the area revolve around but are not limited to industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial issues, social as well as cultural matters.
Expectations of economic integration have always been high and a lot has been accomplished by the regional group since the endorsement of the treaty which gave it the required legal teeth
Differences in the level of integration and development coupled with the uneven application or implementation of various trade related community text, among others, has been of great concern.
The ECOWAS Trade Monitoring System therefore, is a tool designed to monitor the implementation of trade and related agreements, legal text and policies in the Member States in order to deepen the regional integration agenda and promote economic development through trade.