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Title page
Table of Contents
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes
Table of Abbreviations

1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Literature Review
1.3       Statement of the Problem
1.4       Objectives of the Research
1.5       Scope of Study
1.6       Research Methodology
1.7       Justification
1.8       Organisational Layout

2.1       The Concept of Economic Integration
2.2       Legal Framework for Economic Integration Under ECOWAS Treaty
2.3       Interstate Approach to Economic Integration
2.3.1    Institutional Foundations of the Interstate Approach
2.3.2    Authority of Heads of State and Government
2.3.3    Convergence Council of Ministers and Central Bank Governors
2.3.4    ECOWAS Parliament
2.3.5    ECOWAS Commission
2.3.6    ECOWAS Court of Justice

3.1       Economic Cooperation
3.2       The ECOWAS Treaty
3.3       ECOWAS Integration Initiatives
3.3.1    Common Market
3.3.2    Monetary Union West African Monetary Zone
            West African Monetary Institute
            The Technical Committee
            West African Central Bank
            WAMZ Stabilisation & Cooperation Fund
3.3.3    Joint Economic Ventures
3.3.4    Mobility of Labour and Capital
            Right of Entry
            Right of Stay
            Right of Residence
            Right of Establishment
            Access to Community Court of Justice
3.4       Custom Union
3.4.1    Challenges to Trade Expansion Programme
            Failure to Implement Provisions
            Non-Integration of Production Structures
Inadequate Infrastructure Development
3.5       Challenges to Achievement of the Aims and Objectives of ECOWAS Treaty
3.6       Harmonisation of Laws

4.1       Problems of Economic Integration
4.1.1    Institutional Challenges
4.1.2    Legal Problems
4.1.3    Failure of Implementation of Integration Laws and Policy
4.1.4    Fear of Economic Domination
4.1.5    Political Instability
4.1.6    Dearth of Democracy
4.1.7    Poverty
4.2       Prospects of Economic Integration
4.2.1    Economic Prosperity
4.2.2    Regional Peace

5.1       Summary
5.2       Findings
5.3       Observations
5.4       Recommendations


The partitioning and subsequent introduction of European colonial governance in West Af-rica with its policy of legitimate trade in one or two cash crops to serve Europe‘s industrial needs eroded indigenous industrial skills and the basis for development of sustainable interac-tive economic activities in West Africa. As a result, by the time most of the new nation states of West Africa gained independence in the 1960s, they were left with structurally fragile and highly disarticulated economies with inherent acute and devastating price distortions in the international commodity markets, as currently being suffered by Nigeria and Ghana in rela-tion to crude oil exports, and Cote d‘Ivoire in relation to its cocoa exports. These challenges were further exacerbated by issues such as bad governance, political instability, lack of ade-quate diversification, infrastructural deficit and lack of political will amongst others. It was this socio-economic disintegration that ECOWAS is designed to reverse, through the mecha-nism of economic cooperation and integration with a view to fostering sector development of member states concerned in wealth creation and enhanced standards of living for its citizens. In spite of this initiative, the hope of the sub-regional body remains largely unrealised owing to emerging challenges of poverty (which is made manifest in very low literacy levels, inade-quate health care services most often reflected in very high maternal mortality, inadequate shelter, unaffordable goods and services amongst a host of other problems in member states), intra-state armed conflicts, bad governance, political instability and the global economic re-cession which are taking tolls on the development capacity of member states. This study an-swers to the problems of research. It aims at examining the ECOWAS Treaty and its applica-tion to the various imperatives of cooperation and integration of the economies of member states of ECOWAS. The study also focuses on examining the role of law and its implication on the concept and practice of economic integration, and to provide findings with relation to problems and prospects of economic integration. The study establishes these findings to in-clude, low level of awareness of integration initiatives which has served to impede effective implementation of most of the initiatives primarily aimed at deflecting the negative effects of globalisation especially in the area of trade and commerce, particularly under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS). The study also finds that poor governance and lack of political and institutional accountability is a common denominator of armed conflicts in most member states in the sub-region, and accounts in part for the failure of relevant agencies to perform substantially. An additional find, is the absence of a common supranational legal tool which constitutes a major impediment to cross border practice and accounts substantially for the slow pace of intra-regional trade across the sub-region. Flowing out of these findings, the study recommends the imperative of raising the level of awareness of national authorities, manufacturers and general public on the various integration initiatives of ECOWAS with a view to promoting inter-community trade, wealth creation and empowering community citi-zens, particularly when noted that ECOWAS has a large market that is vital for national and sub-regional development. It is also recommended that the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance should be enforced with a view to sanctioning erring member states that violate the Protocol through the suspension of such erring members voting rights on all matters relat-ing to the ECOWAS. The study additionally recommends the harmonisation of Business Laws with the aim of eliminating the existence of different legal systems in ECOWAS. This would assist in providing a more secure legal environment and provide for certainty of laws, thereby enhancing the pace of intra-regional trade in ECOWAS. The scope of the study is determined by the statement of problem and objectives of research. Accordingly, the research focuses on issues that resolve its problems and advance its objec-tives, with a view to revitalising ECOWAS with realistic and relevant benefits to its peoples.



1.1          Background of the Study

The concept and practice of economic integration between or among states has an old history. By literature available to the researcher, it dates back long before the period of the Berlin Conference in 1884, when African nations thrived on cooperation and community life to re-solve challenges and develop their communities1. Relative to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), it is as old as the community itself. Indeed, it is the raison d‘ĂȘtre for the formation of the community. Article 3 of the ECOWAS treaty sets out the aims and objectives which among others are to promote cooperation and integration leading to the establishment of an economic union.

West Africa is the part of Africa that is bounded in the West and South by the Atlantic Ocean, the Sahara desert on the North, and on the East by the eastern boundaries of present day Nigeria. Practically, it is that area of Africa that is encircled in the North by a line run-ning from the Senegal River to Lake Chad, in the East by a line running from Lake Chad Ba-sin to the Cameroon Mountains, and in the south and west, by the Atlantic Ocean coastline.2

Traditionally, the peoples of West Africa have earned their living from the land which ac-counts for why agriculture remains the bedrock of all other indigenous economic activity in West Africa. Other occupations such as trade and craft manufacture were rather undertaken on a part time basis, while additional types of productive enterprises were often made possi-ble by the financial surplus from agriculture. The arrival of the Europeans on the west coast of Africa between the 17th and 18th centuries drastically changed the nature of economic....

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