ECOWAS AS MECHANISM FOR COOPERATION AND INTEGRATION IN THE WEST AFRICAN SUB-REGION: A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT

ECOWAS AS MECHANISM FOR COOPERATION AND INTEGRATION IN THE WEST AFRICAN SUB-REGION: A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT

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ABSTRACT

The problem of this research is to identify the factors militating against ECOWAS as a mechanism for the growth and development of cooperation and integration in West Africa. The study seeks to identify and examine the development policies and mechanisms of the ECOWAS Community in order to make recommendations to accelerate the pace of cooperation and integration on the path to sustainable growth and development in the West African sub-region. Specifically, the objectives are to; identify the ECOWAS policies/strategies for integrating the countries of West Africa and to assess to what extent the policies and activities of ECOWAS have impacted on trade, employment, peace and security within the Community. The research methodologies adopted in this study are both primary and secondary sources of data collection. The data was collected through primary sources such as a questionnaire field survey, interviews and secondary sources like books, library materials, journals, periodicals and government publication etc. The analysis of the data for this study was done using tables and descriptive statistics (such as simple percentages). The various comments and responses were used to corroborate the data from the secondary source. The findings of the study shows that the majority of Community citizens support ECOWAS because since its establishment in 1975, the organization has achieved substantially the integration of the countries of the sub-region, that ECOWAS has had a positive impact on community development, cooperation and improved cross-boarder traffic within the region. The findings of the study revealed that ECOWAS policies such as trade liberalization have had positive impacts on trade, youth employment, peace and security within the community. The implications of the study is that if the member states are dedicated to the policy framework of corporation and integration as pursued by ECOWAS, there would be an acceleration of cooperation and integration in West Africa with its attendant benefits on economic development, peace and security.

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0      INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background To The Study

The problem of structural transformation from dependant colonial

regimes to viable independent economies capable of effective

participation in an interdependent world economy has proved a

challenge in West Africa.

The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) was

established in 1975 with the objectives of promoting “cooperation

and development in all fields of economic activity, particularly in the

fields of industry, transport, telecommunication, energy, trade,

money and finance for the purpose of raising the standard of living of

its peoples, maintaining and enhancing economic stability and

development.”

In the competitive world of globalization and liberalization,

cooperation and integration offers the only chance to be relevant and

to speak with one voice in international negotiations. The formation

of integration vehicles such as the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS

present an opportunity for concerted efforts by African Heads of

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State to pursue the ideals of integration as an instrument of faster

collective growth and prosperity for Africa. The African Union is the

continental integration umbrella for the countries that make up

Africa. The African Union rests much of its policy articulation,

aggregation and implementation on regional integration institutions

such as ECOWAS in West Africa.

1.2 Statement Of The Research Problem

ECOWAS was conceived as an inter-governmental institution to

pursue community cooperation and integration as an instrument of

faster collective growth and prosperity for West Africa. However,

general perceptions gained from information from different sources

are showing that ECOWAS has failed to be this vehicle of growth and

prosperity for the West Africa.

The problem of this research is to identify the factors militating

against ECOWAS as a mechanism for the growth and development of

cooperation and integration in West Africa.

A cursory look at the integration efforts in West Africa reveals a high

level of duplication of programs and activities as well as overlapping

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memberships with serious implications for the allocation of scarce

resources. In spite of the recurring failures which have attained the

many attempts at freeing Africa from the death grip of

underdevelopment   and    adversity    through    cooperation    and

integration, the search must continue.

1.3           ResearchQUESTIONS

The research questions for this study are as follows;

1      How effective has ECOWAS been as a mechanism to integrate

the countries of the West African sub-region?

2      To what extent have the policies and activities of ECOWAS


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