ECOWAS and the Promotion of Democratic Governance in West Africa
Bappah Habibu Yaya

This paper reviews the role of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in promoting democratic governance in West. The review is necessary to keep up the effort of the Organization in promoting democratic governance. ECOWAS has been able to build consensus among the West African states about democracy and democratic governance, as attested to in its instruments and its stance on states where unconstitutional practices occurred like Niger, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and recently Mali. But it has not gone far enough to ensure real popular participation in governance within member states. The mechanisms put in place by ECOWAS, namely the Treaty and the Protocols are not fully deployed, which weakens the performance of the Organization. Moreover, the supranational institutions responsible for implementation, notably the Commission, and the Community Court have weak enforcement authority and operate in an incoherent and disjointed manner. This paper therefore examines ECOWAS institutional mechanisms and strategies for promoting democratic governance. It highlights areas that require review to make democratic governance more effective.

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