The ECOWAS and the of Integration in the West African Sub-Region 1985 – 2020.

The ECOWAS and the of Integration in the West African Sub-Region 1985 – 2020



1.1 Background:

Fundamental to this study is the issue of integration amongst and between nations and its imperativeness as a force for human development, especially with reference to emerging independent states of Africa. From the framework of the UN [United Nations], regional organizations are viewed as a major feature of contemporary global economic system. One of the basic purposes of such regional bodies is to make use of deliberate governmental and private sector efforts to strengthen south-south trade and economic links more rapidly than would be the case if such links were to be determined only by market forces [UNCTAD, 1986]

In this introductory segment of the study attempts to examine integration and the forces shaping the process amongst and within the disparate and independent nations of a geographical area so described and referred to as “West Africa” would be made. Very importantly too, the researcher’s approach to this study has also been viewed and governed by notable global integrative activities and pursuits well known and acknowledged, and which also culminated into a string of international integration efforts, processes and which in turn created world’s first generation international bodies such as the United Nations [UN], European Union [EU], Organization of African Union [now African Union – AU ], World Bank [WB], International Monetary Fund [IMF], South African Development Cooperation [SADC], Association of South East Asian Nations [ASEAN] etc. It is therefore not surprising that the Economic Community of West African States otherwise known


as ECOWAS and similar such bodies like the Southern African Development Community otherwise referred to as SADC are widely seen as “representing the globalization phenomenon” [CDD W/Paper, June 2002].

The most dramatic evidence of globalization is the increase in trade and movement of capital. From 1950-2001 the quantum of world exports rose over 20 times and by 2001 world trade amounted to a quarter of all the goods and services produced globally. In the early parts of the 1970s, only $10 billion to $20- billion in national currencies were exchanged daily. By the beginning of the 21st. century more than $1.5 trillion worth of Japanese Yen, Euros, Pound Sterling, Dollars and other currencies were effectively traded daily in order to support the expanded levels of global trade and investment [Goldstein: 1992, Robert: 2001, Eichen: 1998].

Globalization denotes a comprehensive term for the emergence of a global society in which economic, political, environmental and cultural actions in one part of the world quickly come to have implication for people in other parts of the world. Globalization is therefore the result of a multifaceted advancement in communication, transportation, and information technologies and it also describes the growing economic, political, technological, and cultural linkages that connect individuals, communities, businesses, and governments around the world. The growth of MNCs [Multinational Corporations] or TNCs [Trans-National Corporations], as organizations with operations or investments in many countries, functioning in a global market place is an integral part of the globalization phenomenon. As citizens of disparate nations we are culturally, materially, and psychologically engaged with the lives of people in other countries as never before, thus distant events often have an immediate and above all significant impact, blurring the boundaries of our personal world [Eichen: 1998, Robert, 2001].

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