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ZEI and WAI set the course for future cooperation

Third working group meeting in the framework of the cooperation project between the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) and the West Africa Institute (WAI).

ZEI and WAI set the course for future cooperation

The ZEI delegation together with West Africa Institute (WAI) stakeholders at the seat of WAI in Praia.

The future of the West African regional integration process and the priorities for research in this field have recently been discussed during the third working group meeting in the framework of the cooperation project between the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) and the West Africa Institute (WAI), financed by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which took place in the capital of Cape Verde, Praia, from 10-13 July 2011. The discussion was held between a ZEI delegation headed by ZEI Director Prof. Ludger Kühnhardt and several stakeholders from WAI, among which were the Chairman of the WAI Board José Brito, the interim director of WAI, Prof. John Igue and WAI´s project coordinator, Dr. Corsino Tolentino. BMBF was represented by Ms. Nina Helm from the International Bureau of BMBF.

In the course of the meeting the two institutes paved the way for the structure of a longer-term cooperation between WAI and ZEI until 2015. In this context, ZEI will on the one hand forward its expertise in setting-up sustainable research structures to WAI and on the other hand joint research will be conducted. The thematic focus of this cooperation will lie in three fields: “Regional Integration and Policy Formulation Process”, “Economic Integration and Regional Trade” and “Institutional Capacity Development for Regional Integration”. The WAI-ZEI approach is based on equal partnership and a comparative perspective. As a West African-European effort for bi-regional research cooperation, the project is new and innovative in its kind.

Apart from the project-related talks that took place at the seat of WAI, the ZEI delegation took part in a general debate at the School of Business and Governance of the National University of Cape Verde, where questions of regional integration in West Africa and in Europe were discussed. The fruitful discussion was moderated by the Dean of the School, Prof. Joao Santos. At this occasion, WAI and ZEI also presented the results of their work in the initial phase of cooperation: a “Reader” on sustainable regional integration and the “Joint WAI-ZEI Discussion Paper” with contribution of West African and European authors.

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