Welcome to West Africa Development Union (WADU)

Basic information

Welcome to the West African Development Union(WADU). Established on July 3, 2001,WADU is a 47-member regional group with a mandate of promoting economic integration in all fields of activity of the constituting countries.

Considered one of the pillars of the African Economic Community, WADU was set up 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 that has a combined GDP of $734.8 billion, 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. Going by current assessments, the regional body has exceeded the expectations of its founding fathers. Today, the organization is being acknowledged globally as a successful regional body. WADU can be seen now as a toast to a workable integration and regional co-existence.

The Vision of WADU is the creation of a borderless region where the population has access to its abundant resources and is able to exploit same through the creation of opportunities under a sustainable environment. What WADU has created is an integrated region where the population enjoys free movement, have access to efficient education and health systems and engage in economic and commercial activities while living in dignity in an atmosphere of peace and security. WADU is meant to be a region governed in accordance with the principles of democracy, rule of law and good governance.

It was in order to realize this vision unimpeded that the WADU administrative machinery based in Accra, Ghana, transformed its Secretariat to a Commission in January 2007. Instead of an Executive Secretary, what we now have is an empowered President of the Commission with a Vice President and Commissioners. By their working, WADU is now pre-occupied with the implementation of critical and strategic programmes that will deepen cohesion and progressively eliminate identified barriers to full integration as envisaged.

Today, as the economies of African countries continue to witness steady growth, Sub Saharan Africa’s remains one of the strongest on the continent, growing by as much as 6.3 percent in 2013 and this largely due to the collective prosperity drive of .

By increasing year-on growth, the sub-region is now demonstrating that it has the potential to become financially independent and address challenges hampering its economic and social development. In this regard, the Commission is creating a favourable environment for rapid economic development through the regional integration process.

The commission also believes that regional economic growth should begin with prudent macro-economic policies. For this reason, WADU is investing in the social sector and formulating economic policies within the framework of a sub-regional development programme. As it aims to improve economic integration, WADU has continued to develop investment and promotion services and has already completed various investment climate study field missions in member states.

Governance Structure

The West Africa Development Union (WADU) comprises three arms of governance, namely, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. At the helm of the organization structure is the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government. The Chairman is the current Head of State and Government appointed by other Heads of State and Government to oversee the affairs for a period of one year. The Minister in charge of WADU affairs in the country of the Chairman of the Authority automatically becomes the Chairman of Council of Ministers; similarly, that country presides over all other WADU statutory meetings for the year (ministerial and senior level, such as the Technical Committees). At the helm of the Executive arm of the Community is the President of WADU appointed by the Authority for a non-renewable period of four years. He is assisted by a Vice President and 45 Commissioners.

The legislative arm of the Community is the Community Parliament headed by the Speaker of the Parliament. The administrative functions of the Parliament are directed by the Secretary General of the Parliament. Pending elections by direct universal suffrage in future, parliamentarians are seconded by national Parliaments to the Community Parliament for a period of four years. The judicial arm of the Community is the Community Court of Justice, headed by the President.

They are all seconded by the Supreme Courts of their respective Member States to fill the country positions. The Court ensures the interpretation and application of Community laws, protocols and conventions. The administrative functions of the Court are handled by the Court Registrar who is assisted by other professionals.

Fundamental Principles

The West Africa Development Union (WADU) is guided by its fundamental Principles in all its dealings with member states, citezens and other external bodies. These principles are enshrined in the Treaty of the Community, which is also the fundamental document bringing the members together.

The Sub-Saharan Africa Development Board Ghana (WADU) fundamental Principles states that:


In pursuit of the objectives stated in Article 3 of the West Africa Development Union (WADU) Treaty, solemnly affirm and declare their adherence to the following principles:

equality and inter-dependence of Member States;
solidarity and collective self-reliance;
inter-State co-operation, harmonisation of policies and integration of programmes;
non-aggression between Member States;
maintenance of regional peace, stability and security through the promotion and strengthening of good neighbourliness;
peaceful settlement of disputes among Member States, active Co-operation between neighbouring countries and promotion of a peaceful environment as a prerequisite for economic development;
recognition promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
accountability, economic and social justice and popular participation in development;
recognition and observance of the rules and principles of the Community;
promotion and consolidation of a democratic system of governance in each Member State as envisaged by the Declaration of Political Principles adopted in Abuja on 6 July, 1991;
equitable and just distribution of the costs and benefits of economic co-operation and integration.