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WAI NEWSLETTER - JANUARY - JUNE 2021 is now Online!

IMG 6981The West Africa Institute (WAI) is a think tank at the service of Regional Integration and Social Transformations in West Africa.

The West Africa Institute (WAI) was created by UNESCO, ECOWAS Commission, UEMOA Commission, the Government of the Republic of Cabo Verde and the ECOBANK Group. It was approved by the Summit of Heads of State of ECOWAS, held in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) in

December 2008 and by the Council of Ministers of UEMOA on 26 June, 2009, in Dakar (Senegal). In October 2009, during the General Conference session in Paris (France), UNESCO approved the creation of the West Africa Institute (WAI) as a category II Institute, placed under its auspices.

WAI is a research center and think tank on regional integration with a focus on social transformations. Its creation followed the holding of the Seminar MOST1 (Management Of Social Transformations) of UNESCO in April 2007 in Praia, the capital city of Cabo Verde, on the Island of Santiago, on the theme: «Nations-States facing the Challenges of Regional Integration in West Africa». (

WAI is based in Praia, Cabo Verde and was established as an international NGO. WAI’s main missions are (i) to generate knowledge, (ii) to establish platforms for dialogue, meetings and exchanges, and (iii) to train a new generation of elites on research and policy making with respect to its focus areas. A key element of its strategy is strategic partnership with similar institutions.

In comparison with other similar institutions, the added value of WAI is based on two pillars: (i) WAI is the only research institution in Africa dedicated solely to regional integration and social transformations, and (ii) it is the only organization working with a participatory approach, promoting free debates among policy makers and open spaces for dialogue and exchange among all social actors concerned with issues of regional integration and social transformation. 

With a view to promoting knowledge on regional integration, WAI carries out multidisciplinary and sectoral research on regional integration in West Africa taking into account the specific political, economic, social and cultural context of the region. It also publishes findings of research and actively facilitates high-level policy dialogues among decision makers in these areas. Its research activities focus on policies relating to complex issues of regional integration in West Africa. The studies aim at the development of sectoral policies, based on sound research on social sciences to support the Commissions of ECOWAS and UEMOA and the Mano River Union in their efforts regarding regional integration. WAI also engages with the private sector and civil society, given its mandate and the important role these other actors are expected to play in socioeconomic transformations and regional integration. Based on these research activities, WAI makes strategic recommendations published in English, French and Portuguese, which are widely distributed to political, economic, cultural and civil society policy makers in the West African Region.


Regarding the formation of a new generation of elites on regional integration, interventions aimed at strengthening the capacity of officials responsible for the implementation of the process. In this regard, WAI provides high-level training to senior officers from national governments, regional integration institutions and business area. The goal is to train future administrators and highly qualified decision makers in the field of regional integration. The capacity building activities will be extended to parliamentarians and members of organizations of civil society and policy recommendations will be based on documents. Training activities especially will benefit from exchanges in the framework of South-South partnerships that established the Institute in its various research projects. Finally WAI created a Master's program in African Regional Integration in partnership with the Center for European integration Studies (ZEI) at the University of Bonn in Germany, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of Cabo Verde, the University of Cabo Verde (UNI-CV) and the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), Bruges, Belgium. Thus, the Master program in Africa Regional Integration has formally started at UNI-CV up January 23rd, 2017.

The priority areas of research of WAI are motivated by the quest for solutions to the institutional, political, economic, social and cultural constraints of the regional integration process. These include conducting reflections on issues of citizenship, governance through the quality of democratic institutions and the process of decision making, public health, food, economic and financial conditions in the region, environmental, relevance of education systems and efficiency of scientific research, shared natural resources, information and communication technologies (ICT), new economic challenges, etc.

WAI has an extensive network of experts and analysts within the region with competencies in various fields. It has also developed strategic networks with universities, research centers and think tanks in Africa and Europe. 

The vision of WAI is to participate actively in close collaboration with other actors in order to facilitating decision-making to achieve the aspirations and the desires of the population.

The Administrative and Technical Organs of the WAI are like follows: 1) the Executive Committee consisting of the founding members of the Institute: The Government of Cabo Verde, UNESCO, ECOWAS Commission, UEMOA Commission and the ECOBANK Group 2) the Governing Board meeting the needs regarding requirement for representation of ECOWAS Member States, policy makers, researchers, private actors and gender advocates 3) the Scientific Council preparing the WAI program of activities and monitoring the quality of its scientific activities 4) the Executive Board of the Institute consists of the Director General, a Program Officer, an Administrative and Administrative and Finance Manager, a Head of Information and Communication and two Assistants.

The animation of a dialogue platform is through the organization of conferences to discuss the many challenges of the regional integration process by bringing together policy makers, economic operators and researchers. These discussions are promoted by regional and national conferences. At these levels, the Institute plays a key role in the crossing of offsets longstanding between policy development and implementation. In addition, these conferences provide the opportunity to assess the various decisions and the implementation of the regional integration policy at national level (country) and regional (ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions).

WAI is a part of the global network of regional integration policies created in 2006 in Montevideo, Uruguay. In this perspective, WAI primarily maintains partnerships with:

The ECOWAS Commission, Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Commission of the African Union, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

International IDEA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The UEMOA Commission, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. 

The Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI), University of Bonn, Germany.

The University of Cabo Verde (Uni-CV), Praia, Cabo Verde.

The Helmut Schmidt University – University of the German Federal Armed Forces, Hamburg, Germany.

The United Nations University Institute for comparative Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), Bruges Belgium.

The University of Coimbra, Portugal.

The Network of West African NGOs Platforms (REPAOC), Praia, Cabo Verde.

The Network of Foundations and Research Institutions for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace in Africa, Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast. 

The Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC), Luxemburg & Johannesburg, South Africa.

Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA, Dakar, Senegal.

The Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC) from OECD, Paris, France.

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Dakar, Senegal.

The Direction for Regional Integration of the African Development Bank, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Dakar Senegal.

The African Institute for Development and Planning (IDEP), Dakar, Senegal.

The New Program of the Post- Graduate Inter-university (NPTCI), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The information on the WAI and its research activities can be obtained via the links below in the three working languages ​​of the Institute (English / French / Portuguese):

1. Website of WAI:

2. WAI Publications «Critical Analysis Actions and Strategies» (CAAS).

3. WAI-ZEI Papers.

4. Regional Integration Observer (RIO).

5. WAI Newsletters. 

6. The various reports (Scientific Council / Annual Reports / Training seminar) & Decisions Act and Texts on WAI.



IIIrd Virtual World Congress on Transdisciplinarity 2020/2021 - REFICA Organizes the Africa Session on African Traditional Knowledge, 24 February 2021

ECOWAS Research and Innovation Support Program (PARI) 2020 Jury Session takes place in Niamey, Niger, April 06-08, 2021

IIIrd Week of the Network of Foundations and Research Institutions for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace in Africa,REFICA,organized in the framework of the 3rd Virtual World Congress on Transdisciplinarity 2020-2021, took place on May 5 and 7, 2021

The Mandela Institute reflects on "the Challenges of Power in Africa: Feminization and Rejuvenation of political bodies", June 1, 2021.

MIASA, Uni-Ghana, DHIP and HBFS organize a Public Roundtable as part of a Workshop on "Women’s Academic Careers in Africa: Strategies and Funding", June 25, 2021

Cabo Verde - Preparation of the African Economic Conference (AEC) - Meeting of the Joint UNDP - UNUFAP - UNICEF Office with Academic and Research Institutions, Praia & Mindelo, June 21, 2021

WAI ANNUAL REPORT 2020 now Available Online! 

Download WAI Newsletter JANUARY - JUNE 2021


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