REASONS FOR ECOWAS FORMATION
ECOWAS was established to promote co-operation and integration in order to create an economic and monetary union for promoting economic growth and development in West Africa. ECOWAS was also established to promote trade liberalization. In April 2002, the ECOWAS council of ministers (com) approved a new procedure for the ECOWAS trade liberalization scheme (TLS). The TLS entitles the manufacture of approved products to customs duty exemption within ECOWAS member states. The main goal of ECOWAS is the promotion of the economic integration among its members. ECOWAS has three official languages: English, French and Portuguese.
ACHIEVEMENT OF ECOWAS
ECOWAS has achieved so many things and also still have lapses. But the Achievements of ECOWAS are
- Increased level of ECOWAS in 1975, it is an incontrovertible fact that the community has been able to raise the level of awareness of the despondent position of west African nations to the real and artificial barriers created since early 1960’s to immeasurable benefits derivable through integration. It is this level of awareness though not sufficient that challenged the protectionist approaches of member nations towards a pragmatic view of integration. The increase in the level of awareness for sub-regional integration according to Adepoju (2005) was a bold attempt to stimulate the kind of homogeneous society which one existed.
- Free movement protocol
The success of attaining the goals and objectives of ECOWAS is hinged on free movement of persons, goods and capital within the sub-region. This explains why viner (1950) opines that the effectiveness of any integration is seen in terms of its relative size. The gain in the implementation of the protocol was made manifest in the volume of human and goods traffic witnessed on daily basis in spite of the official and artificial border restriction. The flow of population from the sub-region constitutes a relatively large proportion of as immigrants in most of the member states. The greatest challenges to the full realization of this objective include corrupt practices at the border, expulsion of citizens from member state, lack of coordination between ECOWAS secretariat and security personnel in all the border posts and language problems.
- Peace making
One of the primary achievement achievements of ECOWAS is their invaluable role and significant progress made with specific reference to conflict management and resolution within sub-region. The community has been very active in preventing new crisis that could truncate the fragile peace and tranquility of the community. The ECOWAS suspended Guinea, Niger and Cote d’ Ivoire following ways and worked relentlessly to frustrate dissent in those countries. Through these conceited effects, Guinea now has democratically elected leaders since 2010 while same is true of Niger. ECOWAS intervened in Guinea Bissau by sending 600 peace keepers helped significantly to stabilize the government.
- Financial integration:
It is a statement of fact that the financial market in West Africa is not broad and largely shallow while there is limited truncation among member states officially. However there is remarkable improvement in financial transaction among WAEMU countries as this has the potential to wake non WAEMU countries from their slumbers.
- Trade Liberalization
ECOWAS trade liberalization scheme (ETLS) was designed to progressively establish a customs union among member states over a 15-year period from January 1990 when the scheme took effect. The goal was to ensure free movement of transport, goals and persons within ECOWAS, including the removal of all tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. The groups of goods covered under ELTS are, unprocessed goods, hand craft, and industrial goods produced within ECOWAS region.
Challenges of monetary integration in the ECOWAS monetary integration in some other parts pf the world has been achieved successfully and those regions of the world has been able to benefit from their integration immensely. However, monetary integration in developing countries has been so difficult to achieve particularly in ECOWAS. Some of the factors responsible for non-commencement of the monetary integration decision in the ECOWAS since 1983 are discussed below which are:
- Administrative difficulties: There are administrative requirements of a monetary union which may be beyond the capacity of poor and weak members. The latter may not have sufficient administrative staff to implement the policies of the union.
- Political instability, ethnic and religions crises: The west-Africa sub region is seriously facing a lot of challenges in coping with the present situation of political, ethic and religious crises affecting the region. After the struggle to entrench democratic government in these countries, the leaders are confronted with another dimension of the struggle within the region, which is to bring lasting peace and stability in these countries. These have rather occupied the minds of the leaders than integration moves in the region.
- Geographical distances: The developing countries of the ECOWAS are lacking in geographical proximity. Nearness to each other is essential for forming an economic union to be effective and successful. Even if there is geographical proximity among them, they lack in good transport, communication, infrastructural and other facilities for intra-regional trade.
- Loss of Revenue: The fear of loss of revenue with the formation of a regional union is also on obstacle in the take-off of monetary integration in the ECOWAS. This is because with monetary integration, intra-regional tariffs will be eliminated. By this, the weak members will not be in position to raise tariffs by themselves in order to meet their revenue requirements because they solely depends on tariffs because most of the countries are rather a market to foreign manufactured goods and only export primary products.
- Fear of domination: In any regional integration, there are always small and large; and rich and poor countries. The smalls, wreaked, and less developed countries fear that their freedom and sovereignty might be in danger if they form a union with their bigger and more powerful neighbors. This fear of domination can also be seen in Africa where national rivalries and boundary disputes exists. This possesses a great challenge to the take off of the monetary integration decision in the ECOWAS region.
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