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ZEI Discussion Paper C 208/2011

Corsino Tolentino/Matthias Vogl (eds.): Sustainable Regional Integration in West Africa/ Intégration régionale durable en Afrique de l´Ouest/ Integração regional sustentavel na África Ocidental

ZEI Discussion Paper C 208/2011


The present Discussion Paper deals with obstacles to sustainable regional integration in West Africa. The Paper is published in the framework of a cooperation project between the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) and the West Africa Institute (WAI) in Praia, Cape Verde, financed by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The respective articles particularly focus on the three fields of security, economics and education and knowledge transfer in the context of regional integration in West Africa. In the course of a discussion process running between the two institutes since 2010, researchers of both institutes have identified those three fields as the main obstacles to sustainable integration in the West African region.

The contributions show, that in spite of high aspirations of politicians, little progress has been achieved with regard to regional economic integration and the regional exchange of goods, even though this had been the principal motivation for the foundation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

A similar gap between rhetoric and substance is identified in the field of security policy. Although West Africa has become a frontrunner for the whole of Africa concerning regional security engagement, it still has serious problems with the implementation of “Human Security”.

Finally, education and knowledge transfer are described not only as keys to the development of Africa in general, but also as crucial factors to optimize the regional integration process and to disseminate knowledge about this phenomenon to a wider public.
The Discussion Paper reveals that there is an enormous backlog demand in all three fields. This is why the two institutes plan to conduct in-depth analysis in the framework of a long-term cooperation 2012-2015. On the basis of the results gained through this research, recommendations and approaches for the solution of existing problems will be formulated and forwarded to West African decision-makers.

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