Economic Community of West African States: A Trajectory in Regional Integration
Over the past thirty years of its existence, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has attempted sub-regional integration in West Africa to promote economic cooperation and development among member states. In this light, she has expanded its vision and redefined its mandate as well as roles in addressing novel realities, especially in conflict resolution. However, there are still challenges yet to be surmounted. This article examines the fundamentals of the overall performance and challenges of regional integration in West Africa. It adopts both descriptive and analytical methods that are native to historical research enterprise. It argues that the feat achieved through ECOWAS/ECOMOG in Liberia and Sierra Leone adds credibility to the conception of regional integration as a dialectical unity of cooperation processes. The study concludes that collective self-reliance, intensification of inter-regional trade, and commitment to democracy are the best approaches to regional integration in West Africa.