chapter  4
36 Pages

a Communauté Economique de l’Afrique de l’Ouest

Nigeria’s insistent claim that CEAO was not an adequate basis for regional cooperation, although evidently motivated in part by selfinterest, was not wholly groundless. CEAO is certainly too small to exercise any considerable bargaining power in the international sphere, and its combined domestic market is far too small to permit low-cost production in a large number of industrial activities. Nevertheless, its members had much experience of cooperation amongst themselves. Moreover, the national implications of a nar­ rower grouping such as CEAO could be more readily assessed by its prospective members than could those of a much wider polyglot grouping. For these reasons alone, it would be surprising if the pos­ sibilities for real and immediate, if ultimately more limited, economic cooperation were not perceived to be greater for the smaller, fran­ cophone grouping than for the much broader scheme urged by Nigeria. Although the establishment of CEAO was without doubt encouraged by external political influence, it does not follow that it is incapable of generating significant economic benefits to its members.