#Article (Archive)

The need for integration

Mar 14, 2013, 10:33 AM

We have over the years emphasised the need for more cooperation, and not competition among African nations, especially for us in the West African region, as we strive to ensure regional integration.

One thing that is very clear today is that the world of tomorrow is not one of small nations, and that no small nation will in the long run be in the forefront of global competition, hence the need for integration.

This is our fervent belief, given the fact that despite its vast resources and market, our sub-region and the continent in general has little to show in terms of integration.

We have always emphasised on these pages that we must be part and parcel of the global order, where regions unite to promote growth and economic development.

Our sub-region has to rely more on itself by boosting its productive sectors, and increasing trade among member countries.

Without this, we will only be enriching others and making ourselves poorer each day.

As Africans and West Africans, in particular, we need to harmonise our laws and all security-related policies.

Our leaders, who from time to time meet to discuss about the sub-region, should put more emphasis on cooperation in key areas, notably trade and free movement of people and goods.

While in the field of transport, our leaders must ensure that vehicles move freely from one part of the region to the other, there is also a need for people to have direct access to our respective capitals.

As the world continues to grapple with the effects of the economic downturn, our part of the world must not stand aside to watch the situation.

There should be smooth movement of vehicles and people transporting goods from one country to the other.

Unless we integrate, our sub-region and the continent, in particular, will find it very difficult to salvage its people from the pinching poverty, bedeviling the continent.

It is evident that since the establishment of the ECOWAS Commission, there have been many policies adopted to make economic integration a reality.

Unfortunately, the implementation of these policy instruments on the ground has always been sluggish.

Being cut up into small countries, we are just wasting our time because that would not help our sub-region.

For us, the only thing that would help us as Africans is to come together for economic survival, for our ability to participate in global competition, to have the infrastructure in place and finished goods for export, instead of relying on the production and export of raw materials.