Regional Cooperation And Regionalism In The West African Sub-Region
The linkage between economic integration and regional development is admitted but has not been systematically analyzed in the study of West African regionalism. One of the key reasons is the lack of studies that analyze ECOWAS, its problems vis-à-vis the world most successful project of regionalism – the EU. In order to comprehend regional integration in West Africa, this article analyzes few things. These include the level of economic development in the region, divergence of national interest as a result of the involvement of big powers in the region, terrorism, and the ‘negative’ colonial legacies. The needs for ECOWAS to strengthen its economic integration and address new issues that afflict its member-states are also analyzed. It is argued that since the EU had ignored the 20th century’s bad memory of great wars for economic development, Anglophonic and Francophonic divisions in Africa that created “we versus them” problem could also be ignored for economic development. Thus, despite the existence of many challenges that hinder the full implementation of some of the ECOWAS policies, there continues to be justifiable reasons for economic integration among its member-states. One of those reasons is the vagueness and complexity of regionalism that nation-states can join it for various purposes.
Keywords- Regionalism, Economic Integration, And ECOWAS