The purpose of this study is to assess the role of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the Economic Integration of West African states between 1975 - 1998.

The project work is divided into five Chapters.

Chapter 1 deals with Introduction and Background Information to the study.

Chapter 2 examines with Conceptual Framework      and Theory of Cooperation and integration

Chapter 3 discusses the Financial/ Economic Cooperation and Integration, Treaties of integration, Conferences held, Decisions and their Implementation regarding integration.

Chapter 4 focuses on Political Integration in West African States.

Chapter 5 deals with Assessment / Conclusion of the integrations.






Title                                                                                                                                        i

Certification                                                                                                                         ii

Dedication                                                                                                                            iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                                              iv

Abstract                                                                                                                                v

Tables of Contents                                                                                                              vi



1.1      Introduction and Background Information                                                       1

1.2      Research Objectives                                                                                               7

1.3      Purpose of Study                                                                                                    8

1.4      Scope/ Delimitation of Study                                                                               8

            Notes/ References                                                                                                  10



Conceptual Framework and Theory Of Integration.                                                   11

Notes/ References                                                                                                              20



3.1      Financial/ Economic Cooperation and integration                                         21

3.2      Treaties of Integration                                                                                           30

3.3      Conferences held Decision and their implementation regarding

integration                                                                                                               66

Notes and References                                                                                           72


Political integration in West African States                                                                  73

Notes and References                                                                                                       81



5.1      Assessment / Conclusion of the integration                                                     81

5.2      Recommendations                                                                                                 86

Bibliography / References                                                                                                90



















Integration in the West African Sub- region has largely been, informed by the integration processes in Western Europe, Latin America, Asia and else where in Africa. . The main objectives of integration in these areas have generally been both economic and political . It has been economic where the immediate ore-occupation has been the promotion of better economic welfare or economic development whereas, it has been political where the ultimate concern is the political unity of the component states. The emergence of a Federal or confederal System is to cater better for the political and economic interests of the member states in a highly competitive global system The inevitability of political unity has been    underscored by the fact that economic integration has been a political process which requires the surrendering of the major national economic instruments to the supranational authority, also it involves the government of the member States as the major actors as far as the initiation and implementation of sub - regional policies are concerned.

The agenda of setting up the ECOWAS has been influenced by global trends. The birth of ECOWAS was in itself a response of member States to the challenges of globalization. On 28th May 1975 when ECOWAS was born in Lagos with the signing of the ECOWAS treat, the world was going            through a crisis in international economic relation manifested in the following areas:

1.        Falling living standards in developing countries.

2.        Over - dependence of the region on the advanced economies especially the metropolis

3.        The limited spaces for manoeurability by the individual developing countries on the international scene

4          A global system distorted by the bi-polarity divide into which developing countries are caught.

5          A cherished and yet abused principle of national Sovereignty and it linkage with national security and the inviolability of domestic jurisdiction

6.        An accompanying   paradox of sovereign equality of states and inequality      in the ability to act.

7          The realization by developing countries especially of Africa of the need for collective self reliance in         order  to at least survive in the system and engage in it meaningfully.

It is against   this background that with the assistance of the limited Nations especially UNECA in Addis - Ababa, a rational framework was agreed i.e the creation of regional economic communities as means of collative self- reliance for sustainable     socio - economic development, and as building blocks of an African Economic Community.

Thus the vision the founding fathers of ECOWAS was to      create a single regional economic space as a prelude to the continental one, through integration and Collective self - reliance,          an economic space with a single market and single currency capable of generating accelerated Socio - economic development and competing            more meaningfully in the global market of large trade blocs and uneven patterns of trade between the industrialized North and raw materials-based economics of the South.

By the mid - 1970s many West African Countries were already      in the threshold of economic difficulties in the aftermath of the global oil price shock of 1973. Many of the         countries in the Sub - region, apart from Nigeria which produces oil had serious problems of external balances.

There was need for increased foreign financial support it they were to be able to maintain a minimum level of imports to ensure  a steady           process of economic growth and development . Consequently at it formation, the ECOWAS held a lot of promises as one of the dynamic strategies through which economic under development could be surmounted and the all - pervading poverty in the Sub -region eliminated. This assumption was based on the unique size of the community which    has a population of about 150 million people. It was assumed that the large population    would serve not just as means for the mobilization of internal resources for industrialization but also as a powerful attraction for the inflow of foreign investment.

However, it has been observed   that the ECOWAS has some other special features. It is an integration scheme which cuts across all colonial boundaries, encompassing the Anglophone, Francophone and lusophone countries of the Sub -region. There is no doubt therefore that ECOWAS since it inception in 1975, has contributed immensely in bringing West African governments enterprises organization and people closer to each other. There has been a general sense of development of cooperation and integration for mutual benefits.

The governments, and peoples of one member state have shown increasing interests in the welfare and progress of the government, organizations and people of another member State as a testimony to a gradual but Steady growing awareness of the necessity for inter dependent development . However while this has been an emerging feature in the Sub-region, it is also a common Knowledge that the very essence of integration has not, even after three decades of the operation of the Community manifested itself to our mutually        desired level of cooperation.

There can be no gain - saying the fact that the process of integration is complex and arduous. This is evident from the           cases of other integration arrangement among developed and developing­ countries such as the European Economics Community    (EEC)  or the Caribbean Community (CARTCOM) where integration has occurred in gradual Stages.     The truth is that integration would only proceed where member states are prepared to make sacarifies on Several levels. The political leaders and other integrators in the Sub – region did undoubtedly make such Sacarifies and Commitments but these were inadequate during the first decade of operation of the community. It is now evident that renewed energies are required and new Path cultivated if a new lease of life was to be given to the Community for its optimal performance .

During the first two decades of integration, much     has been learned about the problems and techniques of regional integration among developing countries. In particular, the inherent limitations of orthodox customs unions and of measures for trade liberalization are now widely recognized . It is widely appreciated that effective regional integration demands not only such measures of negative integration but also what Timbergen (1965) terms measures of positive integration These are measures designed to make an integrated market function effectively and promote broader policy objectives.

Although gaps in technical knowledge remain, if the knowledge gained from the integration experience of the past two decades is put to good use of which there are Signs - both established schemes     and those in the process of formation will stand a much improved chances of making their potential contribution to development policy.

Secondly, the political context may in some    respects have become more favourable. It is often suggested that in the    sphere of regional integration it Is not so much technical knowledge that has been lacking but the political will. During the last two decades, the emphases of policy in most African States has been on internal political Consolidation Although these internal pre-occupation have certainly not disappeared the balance may be shifting. In fact, this reflects the new importance attached to changing the international environment           and to the attainment       of economic objectives through political means. In fact, it simply reflects a more conventional reaction        to the impact of world divide recession.

Finally, there appears to be renewed recognition on the part of and agencies and donors of the role that integration is capable of playing, and of the need to provide support for regional projects, policies and perhaps institutions including the much needed development of transport         links, if that potential is to be realized.

This could result in regional integration projects.      ,


Broadly, the objective of the study is to attempt an evaluation of ECOWAS integration in the West Africa Sub - region since its inception in 1975.

Specific objectives shall include the following to identify the nature and origin and the factors that precipitated the creation of ECOWAS .

To attempt and evaluate the performance of the role of member states in the formation of ECOWAS .

To elucidate the treaties that led to the creation of ECOWAS.

To appraise some problems that have inhibited the realization of total integration of member State and;

To make Suggestion that can help for proper and meaningful political and ECOWAS integration.


A Considerable amount of interest and concern have been shown by many scholars and diplomats about the problems and prospects of the Political and Economic integration of the peoples of the West African Sub - region .

As a result of this, my concern therefore appear to stem from the fact that human and materials needed for the consistent and effective implementation of the programme of integration in the West African Sub - region .

It then becomes imperative to make a critical study of its implementation. It is therefore the purpose of this study to find out whether or not there objectives of the founding fathers of ECOWAS have be realized


To achieve the objective of this Study, the scope shall include:

·       A critical explanation and analysis of the general nature and importance of integration in the international System in general and in the African continent in particular.

·       A examination of the theory and conceptual frame of the ECOWAS integration and;

·       The relevance of political and economic integration in West Africa.

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