The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has just rolled out a document spelling out five major social, economic and environmental goals it wishes to achieve by 2020. These goals are lofty indeed but they can be achieved only with reliance on not only an enlightened citizenry but on 40% of the population that should have received university training. Consequently, university education within the sub-region is to be reappraised with the view to positioning West Africa for the actualisation of the vision. The task of revitalising university education within the countries making up ECOWAS will no more be a difficult one because, the World Bank and major development partners in the world, having discouraged for many years African leaders from embarking on a development of a higher education structure, have just affirmed their commitment to helping Africa develop a virile and relevant higher education system. Although Africa and West Africa have now been assured of the support of international development partners, finance and cost of university education would still remain a challenge for some time to come; four ways of minimising the effects of this financial challenge on the actualisation of ECOWAS vision 2020 should come through 1.) the acceptance of international development partners to supply ECOWAS countries with initial technological infrastructure that will reduce university education cost 2.) The development of a strong distance education network 3.) raising the number of teaching contact periods per academic staff and 4.) through exploiting all available cheap sources of electric energy for the purpose of ensuring steady and expanding supply of this energy.
Key words: Higher education, university education, ECOWAS vision 2020, actualisation strategy.