chapter  14
Integrating West Africa Through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
WithDaniel Buor
Pages 14

A modern paradigm in the geographic discipline is the analysis of interrelationships between spatial phenomena using appropriate statistical techniques buttressed on the systems theory. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is an interesting case study to analyse the integration-and-political-boundary-demise syndrome. This chapter discusses the objectives of ECOWAS and trade links within the sub-region during the pre-colonial and colonial times. Economic integration occurs whenever a group of nations in the same region join together to form an economic union, by raising a common tariff wall against the products of non-member countries while freeing internal trade among members. Trade in West Africa antedates the medieval times before the advent of colonialism when bartering was the main feature. Free trade would mean free movement, breakdown of tariff barriers, the development of roads, rail and telecommunications networks within the sub-region, and a common customs union.