This study contributes to the literature on political instability and economic growth by specifically investigating the impact of political instability on the economic growth of member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). West Africa is regarded as the riskiest sub-region within the African continent. To achieve this objective, this study employed panel data techniques (fixed effects and generalised method of moments) on a sample of 15 ECOWAS member countries for the period 2005–2012. The findings from the analyses showed that terrorism, poor governance, social unrest, youth unemployment, death rate and natural resource rent have negative relationships with economic growth. The findings and policy implications deduced from this study could not have been any timelier considering the recent escalation of instability in West African countries and their fragile growth prospects.