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West African States

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) - Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and other related materials / Moratorium on Import, Export and Manufacture of Light Weapons

ECOWAS Member States are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Cote D’Ivore, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

Background

The ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and other Related Materials was adopted on 14 June 2006 and will come into force on the date of the deposit of the 9th instrument of ratification. To avoid any political or legal gap ECOWAS has agreed that the provisions of the ECOWAS Moratorium (which expired on 31 October 2007) will continue to apply until the entry into force of the Convention.

UK Government Policy

Individual export licence applications for the supply of items covered by the Moratorium (see Annex A) are assessed under the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. In addition we will continue, as requested by ECOWAS, to take the provisions of the Moratorium and the ECOWAS Code of Conduct fully into account when considering those applications. An export licence for small arms and light weapons, components or ammunition will not be issued unless the ECOWAS Commission has issued an exception to the Moratorium.

Action for UK Exporters

An exporter in possession of an order from an end-user in an ECOWAS Member State must provide a copy of the ECOWAS Commission’s confirmation that other Member States have no objection to the import of the small arms, light weapons, components or ammunition concerned along with other documentation on end-use, with the export licence application. Where an order is from an individual a copy of the ECOWAS Commission’s approval must be provided, along with the other documentation on end-use, with the export licence application. Where the application is for a resident of a Member State for hunting or sporting purposes the application is processed by National Commissions and recommended to the ECOWAS Commission for approval.

Visitors to ECOWAS Member States

Visitors wishing to take arms into any ECOWAS Member State need to apply in advance to the competent authorities and declare such arms on entry. If entry is approved the competent authorities will issue visitors with an entry certificate on arrival and an exit certificate upon departure.

Action for ECOWAS Member States

To apply for the Commission’s confirmation that the exception is agreed, the relevant authorities in the ECOWAS Member State must apply to the

ECOWAS Commission,
101 Yakubu Gowan Crescent,
Asokoro District,
PMB 401,
Abuja,
Nigeria.

E-mail: info@ecowas.int

 

Annex A


Light and Small Arms Registry: Technical Specifications

CategoryWeaponDescription

I

Pistol

Firearm designed to be held and fired with one hand

 

Revolver

Pistol using a revolving cylinder with several cartridge chambers

 

Semi-Automatic

Pistol using gas energy to feed cartridges from a magazine into a chamber

II

Shotgun

Firearm that shoots ammunition through a smooth bore

 

Single/ Bolt/Pump

Shotgun using a mechanical action to chamber cartridges

 

Semi-Automatic

Rifle using gas energy to chamber cartridges

III A

Rifle (Non-Military)

For sporting and hunting purposes

III B

Rifle (Military)

Firearm with a rifled bore, designed to be used with two hands, fired from shoulder and using very high velocity cartridges

 

Simple / Bolt/Pump

Rifle using mechanical energy to chamber the next cartridge

 

Semi-Automatic

Rifle using gas energy to chamber cartridges from a magazine single chamber

 

Automatic

Rifle that fires more than one cartridge when triggered, normally with a selector switch for operation in this mode.

IV

Sub-machine gun

Full or semi-automatic firearm which fires pistol ammunition and requires two hands to hold

V

Machine Gun

Pneumatic, automatic firearm fitted with a carbine barrel which uses carbine bullets or bullets of even heavier calibre

 

Light Weight

One-man machine gun usually fired from bipod legs using magazine belted cartridges

 

General Purpose

Two or more men, crew-served machine gun fired from a big tripod, usually using belted cartridges

 

Heavy

Two or more men, crew-served machine gun fired from a tripod vehicle mount using belted cartridges

 

Auto Cannons

Two or more men, crew-served machine gun fired from a vehicle ground mount

VI

Anti-tank mortars, Howitzers

Weapon firing projectiles which use chemical energy to explode shrapnel

 

Portable - 1 Man

One shot or semi-automatic explosive launcher carried and fired by a single person

 

Portable - Crew

One shot explosive launcher transported by vehicle or by its crew

 

Automatic - Crew

Semi or fully automatic explosive launcher transported by vehicle or by its crew

VIl

Landmines

High explosive device placed on or beneath the soil, that is designed to explode either on contact or in near proximity to a person or vehicle

Small Arms Category Description

Category

Weapon

Undersized

Medium/
Normal

Oversized

Special
Munitions

I

Pistol

 

 

 

 

 

Revolver

32 cal
6 mm

.38 to. 40 cal
7 to 9 mm

.41 cal
10 mm

Hollow point teflon
Liquid filled

 

Semi-Automatic

.32 cal
6 mm

38 to. 40 cal
7 to 9 mm

.41 cal
10 mm

Hollow point teflon Liquid filled

II

Shotgun

 

 

 

 

 

Single/bolt/pump

10 gauge

16 to 12 gauge

20 gauge

Flé-chette

 

Semi-automatic

10 gauge

16 to 12 gauge

20 gauge

Flé-chette

III A

Rifle (Non-Military)

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 mm

5.1 to 8 mm

9 mm

 

III B

Rifle (Military)

 

 

 

 

 

Single/bolt/pump

5 mm

5.1 to 8mm

9 mm

 

 

Semi-Automatic

5 mm

5.1 to 8mm

9 mm

 

 

Automatic

5 mm

5.1 to 8mm

9 mm

 

 

Special

 

 

 

Grenade

IV

Sub-Machine Gun

 

 

 

 

 

 

.32 cal

.38 to. 40 cal

.41 cal

Hollow point teflon

 

 

6 mm

7 to 9 mm

10 mm

Liquid filled

V

Machine Gun

 

 

 

 

 

Light Weight

5 mm

 

 

 

 

General Purpose

5 mm

5.54 to 8 mm

9 mm

 

 

Heavy

 

5.54 to 8 mm

9 mm

 

 

Auto Cannons

 

 

12 to 16 mm

Grenade

 

 

 

 

17 mm

Explosive

VI

Anti-tank mortars, Howitzers

 

 

 

 

 

Portable - 1 Man

< 30 mm

30 to 40 mm

41 mm

Flé-chette

 

Portable - 1 Crew

60 mm

61 to 84 mm

85 mm

White Phosphorous

 

Automatic - Crew

< 30 mm

30 to 40 mm

41 mm

Grenade

VII

Landmines

 

 

 

 

 

 

200g

200g to 1.4 kg

1.5 kg

 

 

Export Control Organisation

Created: March 2008