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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.
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
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
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
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.
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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