The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts is a body established by the United Nations General Assembly. In West Africa, it meets annually to discuss economic and social performance, based on working documents prepared by the Subregional Office for West Africa of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA/SRO-WA). The Subregional Office for West Africa, based in Niamey, covers the 15 member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS): Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Experts from these member States form the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts of West Africa.
ECA, established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is one of five United Nations regional commissions mandated to promote the economic and social development of Africa. Its five subregional offices translate its normative and analytical work into operational activities in the subregions. These offices fulfill their mandate by: (a) providing technical assistance to the regional economic communities and member States on policy harmonization, and provide guidance on meeting their specific needs; and (b) facilitating regional integration by serving as focal points for policy dialogue and information sharing between the Commission and stakeholders in the subregions.
The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts meets annually with high-level decision-makers from member States to discuss economic and social performance and make relevant recommendations. It is also the statutory framework reserved for member States to oversee the development and implementation of the Office’s work programme and monitor its activities. The ICE provides guidance for the Office's programmes by ensuring that subregional priorities are included as much as possible. It also makes recommendations on economic and social development issues in the subregion. These recommendations may, as appropriate, be considered by the joint ECA-African Union meeting of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
Upon its request, the ICE is hosted every year by a member State of the subregion. The twenty-first session of the ICE will be held from 27 to 29 June 2018 in Cotonou, at the request of the Government of Benin. The central theme of the meeting is: “Regional integration in West Africa: new challenges and prospects”. This ICE session will be preceded by an ad hoc expert group meeting from 25 to 26 June 2018, on the theme "Implications for potential applicants for ECOWAS membership".