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Comparative Regional Integration: European Union and West Africa

Cooperation of ZEI with the West Africa Institute (WAI)


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The global phenomenon of regional groupings, emerging on every continent, was one of the most remarkable developments since the breakdown of the bipolar world order. Against this background, research at ZEI, in the framework of this project, analysed problems and factors of regional integration in West Africa and takes the European experience into account. This research was linked to targeted efforts of capacity development for regional integration.
The multilateral research project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the years 2010-2016 and was considered a “beacon” project in the BMBF Africa Strategy of 2014. The project partner of ZEI in this case was the newly established West Africa Institute in Praia (Cabo Verde). WAI was the first research institute of its kind in the region and offers academic analysis, concrete policy advice and the dissemination of knowledge about regional integration processes in West Africa.
Starting 2010 the ZEI-WAI cooperation included research workshops with European and West African scholars, as well as staff exchanges between ZEI and WAI conducted with the goal of elaborating innovative research results and to support the academic and administrative establishment of WAI. The ZEI-WAI cooperation encompasses:

  • Joint analysis of selected policy fields by equally represented bi-regional groups of researchers.
  • Joint policy advice for West African regional decision-makers on the basis of the elaborated research results.
  • A Joint publication program.
  • Supporting WAI in the field of research project management.
  • Support for WAI library and the establishment of databases and monitoring instruments.
  • Training of West African postgraduates at ZEI and parallel establishment of an Africa-specific “Master in African Regional Integration” by WAI and the National University of Cabo Verde (UNI-CV).

The bi-continental research project focused on three topics:

  • Regional integration and policy formulation processes
  • Economic integration and regional trade
  • Institutional capacity development for regional integration

Study Groups

In the course of the project, the following meetings of the Study Groups took place.


A list of publications of this project can be found here.

Further information about the project can be found here...


Prof. Dr. Ludger Kühnhardt
Prof.Dr. Djeneba Traore
Ablam Benjamin Akoutou

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