The Secretariat of the Mano River Union was set up to provide the necessary capacity to assist member States integrate their economies and coordinate development programmes in peace building as a pre-requisite for the reconstruction and developments of the economies of the four member States.
The Union’s Headquarter is in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and has its country offices in Monrovia-Liberia, Conakry-Guinea, and Abidjan-Côte d’Ivoire.
The Mano River Union was established on 3 October 1973 by a Declaration signed by Presidents Siaka P. Stevens of Sierra Leone and William Tolbert, Jr of Liberia in Malema (Pujehun District, Sierra Leone). The then People’s Revolutionary Republic of Guinea subsequently joined the Union by signing a Treaty of Accession on 25 October 1980, thus transforming it into a three-country instrument of multi-lateral cooperation for sustainable development with the accession of Guinea to full membership, the Union became a bilingual sub-regional organisation, with English and French as the official languages. At the Heads of State Summit of the Mano River Union held in Monrovia on 15 May 2008, the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire formally joined the Mano River Union.
MRU had, in the past, been instrumental in accelerating and managing a process for economic integration amongst the MRU Member States. It helped in boosting intra-union trade through the removal of trade tariff barriers and facilitated the harmonisation of national policies, enhancing productivity in agriculture, industry, energy and the development of infrastructure, such as the construction of the Mano River Bridge, a vital link between Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Union was only a month away from launching Air Mano when war broke out in Liberia in 1990.