1.1. Background of the study
Naturally, the well pronounced or known that Africa’s effort towards integration have failed and is unable bear a productive fruit. Though other states have wisely used their integration techniques to enhance their economic welfare, Africa is on the sleeping side when it comes to economic growth, per capita income, capital inflows, and all round living standards. This is an issue most countries face despite of the presence of a superfluity of policy plans and big visions.
Integrationis known to evolve from the Latin integer“whole”. This means the growth and union of two countries, people of different facets that acts as an independent unity. Integration is seen as a positive amount game that makes it beneficial for each player and also for the entire community.
Thus, Regional integration is explained as a peacefully procedure of crafting a larger logical and well-organized political system out of the already existing separate departments, each of which willinglyassignssome part of its power to a single authority and renounces the use of force for addressdifferences between members.
Regional integration assures its participants economic advantagewhich underestimatessome universal regulative instruments. Integration works mostly only under the following conditions: Continental feeling of unity between two people who have the same interest, suggestingsociety spirit, which is seen as the outcome of the separation into constituent from the outside world and inner homogenization; as an outcome of political unification, administrative unification; judicial uniformity; boundary organized sectioning of labor; mass education and mass communication; Economic growth, that permits the changelessdevelopmentside of population enjoy the economic prosperity on a bigger scale; Rightfulability of the governments that manage to assure and provideordinary people a high level of living standards irrespective of individual market success. The problem of globalization and regional integration relationship which is paramount to be fully aware of is gradually coming out in the foreground presently. This deals with a large proportion not only geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-civilizational problems, but also political-economic, financial, currency and unmentioned issues.
One of the benefits of Regional integrationis that it permits and strengthens countries of the zone to withstand and face the problems of globalization, help them to withstand the pressure of world leaders who decide the rules of the game. It helps in crafting regional preferential advantages in the world competitive terrain at the global goods, services, technologies and labor markets.
Also, regional integration reduces the cost of production and marketing expenditure, reinforces international labor disintegration, specialization and cooperation of goods and services production reinforcesactive and energeticgrowth of national GDP, the development of their competitive capability in national environment1. When it comes to regional integration in West Africa, it is vital to mark the fact that for there to be a well explained analyses of African international processes we should turn to previous periods, as the ability of African countries to join originates in the 1950-1960-ies, the era of political independence obtainment. It should be officially cleared that the challenges of regional integration in West Africa are often times defined by the attitudes of political proceduresof organization on the West African continent. Africa is therefore known to be the only region in the world where the rate of poverty is not only analyzed, recorded but also foreseen. This situation has become alarming by the external high level problem, the level of which exceeds the improvement probabilities of African GDP. It has also been discovered that the majority of economic advocates are still at low level, just like the employment advocates. West African GDPplatformgives its position at the global economic system, and the joining of negative external and internal factors strengthens the economic unsteadiness and insecurity in Africa even more. For the purpose ofrecent international integration or dissemination of labor Africa specializes mostly on the export of major goods with the prices fixed at the national level and not in only West Africa.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The poor cooperation and integration of West African countries which Nigeria is part of have been a cause for serious concern. Efforts made by respective West African governments to unite the region have yielded little or no effect as the desired result effect of integration has not be realized. The poor integration of these West African countries has increased the insecurity of this region as terrorist groups have seized the opportunity in causing terror on this region. The economy of the region has also been a far cry as what is expected. The region has therefore been worse of as a result of the lack of effective integration and synergy between these West African nations.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THW STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the prospects and challenges of regional integration in West Africa. Other specific objectives of the study are to;
1. To highlight the benefits of regional integration in West Africa.
2. To examine the role of respective West African countries on regional integration in West Africa.
3. To highlight the role of ECOWAS in achieving regional integration in West Africa.
4. To determine the challenges to effective regional integration in West Africa.
5. To implication of regional integrations on security in West African region.
6. To recommend ways of improving regional integration in West Africa.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the benefits of regional integration in West Africa?
2. What is the role of respective West African countries on regional integration in West Africa?
3. What is the role of ECOWAS in achieving regional integration in West Africa?
4. What are the challenges to effective regional integration in West Africa?
5. What is the implication of regional integrations on security in West African region?
6. What are the ways of improving regional integration in West Africa?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: There are no prospects of regional integration in West Africa.
H1: There are prospects of regional integration in West Africa.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of immense benefit to west African governments, Nigeria inclusive as it would highlight the prospects and challenges to regional integration in West Africa. the study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on regional integration in Africa.
1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to the problems and challenges of regional integration using Economic community of West African states (ECOWAS) as the case study.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8. DEFINITION OF TERMS
ECOWAS: Economic community of West African states
INTEGRATION: Integration is the act of bringing together smaller components into a single system that functions as one
REGION: an area, especially part of a country or the world having definable characteristics but not always fixed boundaries.
ECONOMY: he state of a country or region in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services and the supply of money.
GDP: Gross domestic product
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