Political economy of regionalism in West Africa

Research reports and studies
March 2012
Vikki Chambers, Marta Foresti and Daniel Harris

Developing a better understanding of the features, processes and dynamics of West African regionalism is important for both domestic and external stakeholders in West African development, whether the main focus is on the integration process itself or on progress in particular countries.

In particular, attention needs to be paid to the interests, incentives and choices which shape the behaviour of major political and economic actors in regard to regional processes and issues – in short, the political economy of West African regionalism.

This, however, is a large subject, including topics of greater and lesser importance or relevance. This report provides the final recommendations of the scoping exercise intended to identify priorities among various dimensions of West African regionalism that might be the focus of useful political-economy work.

Five issues are recommended for prioritisation on the basis that political economy work in these areas can add value to what practitioners already know and are doing, and in turn contribute to more effective and realistic strategies to support regional integration. A further ten issues raised during consultations and in the literature are discussed but not prioritised.

The executive summary is also available to download in French.