The Catholic Bishops of West Africa had two different organs of collegiality that were supra-national based on linguistic differences: Conférence Episcopale Régionale de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CERAO established in 1963) and the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA established in 1977).
Convinced of the necessity of greater regional integration and organic pastoral solidarity transcending the linguistic and historical differences (see Ecclesia in Africa, no. 5), the Bishops decided to have one Regional Association of Episcopal Conference of West Africa embracing the francophone, anglophone and lusophone countries of West Africa to be established according to the norms of Canon Law by the supreme Authority of the Church. With the establishment of this Regional Episcopal Conference, both AECAWA and CERAO cease to exist and operate as separate juridical entities. The existence and authority of the various National and Inter-territorial Episcopal Conferences are not however affected.