ARISA presents innovative approaches to regional integration research coordination in Africa, particularly regarding the issue of migration

Audience premierminikThe numerous and tragic deaths in the Mediterranean Sea are  calling upon all African and European governments to act on how to best address migration challenges and implement policies which may be decisive for the future of regional integration in both continents. It is also an important issue for the Republic of Cabo Verde as a country of historically and projected high mobility rates.  With this statement, His Excellency the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cabo Verde, José Maria Neves; addressed the participants of the 8th WAI-ZEI Study Groups Meeting, held from 18 – 19 April in Praia, Republic of Cabo Verde, during an audience he granted in the government building. The Prime Minister reconfirmed his support to the WAI-ZEI research cooperation and the upcoming continental research network of ARISA, promising to also highlight this important initiative towards the new Cabo Verdean Government, sworn in on 22 April 2016. For his Excellency José Maria Neves, regional integration and African unity constitute strategic approaches to achieve sustainable development and booster the competitiveness of the African continent. He therefore acknowledged WAI commitments to deal with the challenges of regional integration and to create scientific evidence and innovative policy-approaches for the future of the African continent, transforming its economies and creating sustainable jobs for its young population.

STM Praia 2016 Group picminikAgainst the backdrop of the current migration situation, the last meeting within the framework of the WAI-ZEI project “Sustainable Regional Integration in West Africa and Europe” was dedicated to the discussion of social, political, legal and economic aspects of migration within and across regions. Furthermore, building upon the reflexions on the establishment of a pan-African network in African regional integration during the WAI-ZEI Study Group Meetings in March 2015 in Praia, and in November 2015 in Bonn, and as laid down in WAI-ZEI Paper Nr. 24, the African Regional Integration Studies Association (ARISA) was formally launched on 19 April 2016. The innovative ARISA network strives to bridge knowledge and research gaps in the field of regional integration in Africa and beyond by bringing together experienced researchers from all African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) within a steering committee with the aim to connect African Regional integration researchers, practitioners and political stakeholders across the continent.

In his opening address to workshop participants, Ing. José Brito, Chairman of the WAI Board, congratulated WAI and ZEI for their fruitful bi-regional cooperation and welcomed the ARISA initiative which could substantially contribute to the promotion of intellectual autonomy in African RECs.

Director of ZEI, Prof. Dr. Ludger Kühnhardt shed further light on the cooperation, a beacon project of the German Ministry’s Africa Strategy, since the first initial contact in 2007. Both partners could be proud, not least because of the successful curriculum development of the Master of African Regional Integration (MARI), developed in cooperation with the University of Cabo Verde (Uni-CV) and set to start later in 2016: “Building on the successful Cooperation between the West Africa Institute and the Center for European Integration Studies in the years 2010-2016 and extending it over the African continent from 2016-2019, the African Regional Integration Studies Association will be an important building block of African Regional Integration, particularly in overlapping fields of regional policy and research, such as migration”.

Prof. Dr. Djénéba Traoré, the Director General of WAI expressed her sincere acknowledgements to the Government of the Republic of Cabo Verde, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), both ECOWAS and UEMOA CommissionsUNESCO  and OSIWA  for their financial and technical support. She underlined WAI’s realisation of the study on the 2011-15 ECOWAS Strategic Plan and the contribution of the research findings to the formulation of the Community Strategic Framework (CSF) 2016-20 . In this context, the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in March 2016 between the ECOWAS Commission and WAI aims at strengthening the role of WAI as a think tank of reference generating innovative ideas and strategies to solve the issues of regional integration in West Africa and beyond.      

She highlighted the historical development of the WAI-ZEI cooperation on regional integration and emphasised the relevant collaborative work between researchers from Africa and Europe that has given birth to ARISA as an innovative approach in terms of coordination of research on regional integration in Africa with the aim to produce innovative and academically-grounded policy advice, addressing the critical challenges that regional integration processes in Africa and Europe face.

The first ARISA research results were focused on the issue of migration and will be published within a special edition of the African Union’s Journal “African Regional Integration and Development Review” later this year. The first Annual Symposium will take place from 21 to 22 November 2016 in Nairobi (Kenya), organized in cooperation with the Centre for Regional Integration (CEFRI) and the Institute for Regional Integration & Development (IRID@CUEA).

Further information on ARISA can be found here in WAI-ZEI Paper No.24: Ludger Kühnhardt and Djénéba Traoré (eds.): Brainstorming for a Pan-African Network in Regional Integration Studies, Bonn/Praia, 2015, as well as on the websites of WAI and ZEI:;


WAI-ZEI Project Coordinators

Ilva Ifland (ZEI), E-Mail: Este endereço de email está protegido contra piratas. Necessita ativar o JavaScript para o visualizar., Phone. +49 (0) 228 73-3086

Rike Sohn (ZEI), E-Mail: Este endereço de email está protegido contra piratas. Necessita ativar o JavaScript para o visualizar., Phone. +49 (0) 228 73-1882

Ablam Benjamin Akoutou (WAI), E-Mail: Este endereço de email está protegido contra piratas. Necessita ativar o JavaScript para o visualizar. , Phone. (+238) 262 48 79

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