Accepted paper:

What happened to the ECOWAS dream? Politics, security and economics… and the least of the three is economics

Author:

Eka Ikpe (King's College London)

Paper short abstract:

The paper addresses the central question of whether ECOWAS can be adjudged as successful within the economic sphere, vis-à-vis politics and security on the basis of its founding principles and the evolving discourses on economic development and security.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the widely acknowledged contended priority focus of ECOWAS between economic development and peace and security from the organization's inception to date. It reflects on the context within which this contention has occurred with a focus on the evolving discourses on economic development and security in intellectual and policy terms. The paper addresses the central question of whether ECOWAS can be adjudged as successful within the economic sphere, vis-à-vis politics and security on the basis of its founding principles. In doing so it considers how ECOWAS has/has not influenced traditional economic transformation processes and outcomes for the regional economic market. To do this, the paper draws on classical development economics by considering how ECOWAS policies have interacted with the traditional constraints on structural transformation and industrialization. The paper does so bearing in the mind ECOWAS-peculiar factors including: intra-regional country relations, socio-political history and contemporary trends, the supranationality principle and global economic relationships with West Africa. The paper's findings are significant for comprehending the relevance of the organization to enhancing the region's prospects in a rapidly changing global political economy. In addition, this case study presents a framework that will be of value to reflections on the experiences of other regional organizations within a similar milieu in Africa and beyond.

panel P099
The role of regional economic communities for political and security issues