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A review of research on regional integration and the strategy of actors in West Africa

WAI political and scientific dialogue, March 2012 (Abidjan)

DSC 8350From 29 to 30 March 2012 the first political dialogue meeting of the West Africa Institute (WAI) was held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on the theme: “The review of research on regional integration and the strategy of actors in West Africa”. More than forty people from regional integration institutions (ECOWAS, WAEMU, Mano River Union), research centers, universities and representatives of fifteen West African ministries in charge of regional integration, attended the meeting.

Professor Bamba N’Galadjo Lambert, former Commissioner of the ECOWAS Commission and member of the WAI Board of Directors, emphasized the important role that research plays in the economic development in general and regional integration in particular. He also reminded the participants of ECOWAS unresolved issues, especially insofar as the formulation of a regional research policy is concerned.

The first workshop was devoted to the analysis of the foundations of regional integration. In this context geographical, historical, political and economical aspects of regional integration were highlighted.

The second workshop focused on the process of regional integration in West Africa since 1960. The third workshop was devoted to the strategies of actors currently involved in the process of regional integration. Apart from the extremely important role of regional integration institutions and governments of member states, the emphasis was placed on non-state actors (civil society and private sector) in the process of strengthening cooperation and regional integration.

The fourth workshop emphasized the experiences of regional integration in Latin America. The analysis was focused on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of regional integration processes in that part of the world.

The fifth and final workshop discussed the major issues and challenges of research on regional integration in the context of West Africa. Participants identified six major research areas of particular relevance for future studies: The environment and shared resources; demography; economic problems; the concept of citizenship; collective governance and security; the relationships between West Africa and the rest of the world.



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