#13. Globalization versus Disintegration:

The Travails of Regional Integration Agenda in West Africa

Okoli, Rowland Chukwuma*

Department of Political Science

University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Abstract

Globlisation is a multi-dimensional phenomenon with risks and opportunities for States of the world that have been inextricably linked in a complex and interdependent relationship. Meanwhile, despite the quest for regional integration, Africa remains a mosaic economically. The study interrogated the neoliberal proselytisation of globalisation as an inevitable phenomenon that benefits all states and even fosters regional integration. It investigated the role of globalization in undermining regional integration in West Africa. Secondary data were collected from documentary sources while qualitative descriptive method of analysis was employed. We predicated our study on the complex interdependence theory. Hence, the study isolated trade liberalization as an aspect of globalization and argued that contemporary trade liberalisation as facilitated by the WTO undermines attraction of foreign direct investments into Africa.

We noted inter alia that most of the global trade agreements reached under the auspices of the WTO tend to promote the trade interests of the developed western countries to the detriment of the Third World Countries. Consequently, West African countries trade more with developed countries of Europe and America than they trade among themselves leading to insignificant intra-regional trade. The study equally evaluated the impact of financial globalization on the strategies and mechanisms of monetary cooperation in West Africa and argued that financial globalisation undermines the autonomy of West African States in domestic monetary policy making and vitiates the efficacy of the mechanisms and strategies initiated for monetary cooperation in West Africa. Generally, globalization facilitates the marginalization of Africa in global trade and investment and ipso facto engenders the disintegration of regional integration arrangements in West Africa. Although regional integration is not an elixir, the paper maintains that regional integration is a veritable strategy required to mitigate the risks posed by globalisation and therefore advocates adoption of evidence-based Afro-centric economic reforms which will stimulate infrastructural development within the subregion, provision of subsidies for small and medium scale industries to make them competitive locally and globally competitive all of which will go a long way in fostering regional integration in the West Africa.

Okoli, R. C. is a Doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

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