Wide Angle

Following the steps of neighboring countries, Algeria gets interested in ECOWAS

Hindered by the Sahara dispute, the Arab Maghreb Union has never really managed to seduce its members. Algeria is the last country in the region to show interest for the Economic Community of West African States.

ECOWAS headquarters./Ph. DR
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Arab Maghreb countries are interested in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). After Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia knocked on the door of the regional organization, Algeria is trying to do the same thing.

On Thursday, December the 27th, Algerian Commerce Minister Said Djellab announced that his country is interested in strengthening ties with the organization at the opening ceremony of the Trade Fair in Algiers.  

«We will negotiate potential trade agreements with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to facilitate the access of Algerian products to the area, which represents a market of 300 million consumers», Algerian news agency APS reported.

The Algerian official did not reveal when these «negotiations» will be launched between the two parties.

North African countries and ECOWAS

The announcement of Minister Said Djellab is part of Algeria’s policy, targeting the African economic market. This policy was launched in the recent months through Mauritania. The latter has already been trying to join back ECOWAS.

On December the 19th, Mauritanian MPs adopted an agreement, signed on May the 5th 2017, to establish partnership between Nouakchott and West African states.

Tunisia is also on the same track. In November the 17th, the North African country obtained observer status in the West African economic organization. This step paved the way for Tunisia to attend ECOWAS’s meetings.

Contrary to Rabat, Tunis is experienced in joining continental economic groups. The country has indeed joined Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a free trade area with twenty-one-member states stretching from Tunisia to Eswatini, after a two-year negotiation period. On July the 18th, 2018, Tunisia was officially admitted in COMESA.

For the record, in March 2017, Morocco requested to be a member of the Economic Community of West African States. Rabat’s bid was accepted in principle in June of the same year, during the 51st Ordinary Session held in Monrovia, Liberia

Despite this major step, Morocco is still waiting for a final answer to its demand. ECOWAS’ Commission announced before that a study on the impact of Morocco’s membership was carried out.

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