Comparative Regional Integration: European Union and West Africa

Cooperation of ZEI with the West Africa Institute (WAI)

Logo West Africa

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.


"WAI-ZEI Papers" anaylze obstacles to sustainable regional integration in West Africa in the fields of economics, law and politics. In this context, they take into account the European integration experience. The "WAI-ZEI Papers" are published in the framework of the WAI-ZEI research cooperation, sponsored by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and are written by researchers associated with this project. More...

The Regional Integration Observer (RIO) reflects the progress of the ZEI-WAI cooperation and informs on current developments. It follows the publication of the ZEI RIO between 2007 and 2012. More...

Ludger Kühnhardt, Maturing beyond Cotonou: An EU-ACP Association Treaty for Development. A proposal for reinventing EU relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 235), Bonn 2016. (Download).

Matthias Vogl, Europäische Sicherheitspolitik in Afrika im Wandel. Von Machtpolitik zum aufgeklärten Eigeninteresse?, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2015 (Schriften des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Vol. 76). (Info)

Ludger Kühnhardt, Africa Consensus: New Interests, Initiatives and Partners, Washington D.C./Baltimore: The Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014, 380 Seiten. More...

Daniela Vogt, Die Integration der ultra-peripheren Regionen in die Europäische Union. Wandel der europäischen Politik gegenüber den überseeischen Besitzungen von Rom (1957) bis Lissabon (2009),  Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2011 (Schriften des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Vol. 75). (Info)

Chibuike Uche, The European Union and Monetary Integration in West Africa (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 206), Bonn 2011. (Download)

Ludger Kühnhardt, Region-Building, Vol. II: Regional Integration in the World: Documents, Oxford / New York: Berghahn Books, 2010

Ludger Kühnhardt, Region-Building, Vol. I: The Global Proliferation of Regional Integration, Oxford / New York: Berghahn Books 2010

Ariane Kösler / Martin Zimmek, Elements of Regional Integration. A Multidimensional Approach, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2008 (Schriften des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Vol. 68). (Info)

Ludger Kühnhardt, African Regional Integration and the Role of the European Union (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 184), Bonn 2008. (Download)

Ariane Kösler / Martin Zimmek (Hrsg.), Global Voices on Regional Integration (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 176), Bonn 2007. (Download)

Ariane Kösler, The Southern African Development Community and its Relations to the European Union. Deepening Integration in Southern Africa? (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 169), Bonn 2007. (Download)

Cordula Janowski, Globalization, Regional Integration and the EU. Pleadings for a Broader Perspective (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 162), Bonn 2006. (Download)

Martin Zimmek, Integrationsprozesse in Lateinamerika. Aktuelle Herausforderungen in Mittelamerika und der Andenregion (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 153), Bonn 2005. (Download)

Ludger Kühnhardt, Northeast Asia: Obstacles to Regional Integration – The interests of the European Union (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 152), Bonn 2005. (Download)

Miguel E. Cárdenas / Christian Arnold, La experiencia de la Unión Europea y sus anécdotas para la « Comunidad Andina de Naciones » (CAN) (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 145), Bonn 2005. (Download)

Ludger Kühnhardt, The Global Proliferation of Regional Integration European Experience and Worldwide Trends (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 136), Bonn 2004. (Download)

Xuewu Gu (ed.), Europe and Asia. Mutual Perceptions and Expectations on the Way to a New Partnership in the twenty-first Century, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2002 (Schriften des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Vol. 40). (Info)

Jürgen Rüland, ASEAN and the European Union: A Bumpy Interregional Relationship (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 95), Bonn 2001. (Download)

Ramiro Xavier Vera-Fluixa, Principios de Integración Regional en América Latina y su análisis comparati-vo con la Unión Europea (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 73), Bonn 2000. (Download)

Murat T. Laumulin, Die EU als Modell für die zentralasiatische Integration (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 29), Bonn 1999. (Download)

Kant K. Bhargava, EU – SAARC: Comparisons and Prospects of Cooperation (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 15), Bonn 1998. (Download)

Project flyer

Further information about the project can be found here:


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

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