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THE RELEVANCE OF ECONOMIC INTEGRATION IN WEST AFRICA A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA AND BENIN REPUBLIC
1.1. Background of the Study
The concept of international cooperation is linked almost automatically to the English Word ''aids''. This connection as well as its translation as ''ayuda'' into Spanish is no accident. Rather, it reflects a situation which existed five decades ago. At that time, the idea of cooperation began to develop on the global scene and was then understood as an aid or transfer of resources by way of grants from the more developed countries to other countries where, due to their level of income and precarious living standards, could be classified as underdeveloped. Presently, the concept of international cooperation has evolved to acquire a more general meaning. This is basically in reply to the increasing complexity of the issue which currently combines the concept of aid and solidarity with that of commercial promotion and political interests. Flowing from this perspective, one could this day, conceive international cooperation as a series of actions that attempt to coordinate policies or join efforts to achieve common objectives on the international sphere. The foregoing explanation which is apparently too general and vague presents an idea of the broad meaning has achieved today. In this sense, the concept economic cooperation is an answer to the emergence of new challenges in the process of globalization and commercial integration that call for the concept of cooperation as a relevant variable to be included. It goes beyond the terms of the political relations between states to include the economic relations established in the international context.
From a historical perspective, it may be reasoned that, in economic terms, states have always maintained relations of exchange and interdependence based on trade and investment. In addition, during the second half of the 20th century, foreign trade became increasingly important as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) and of the socioeconomic development of countries. Specifically, foreign trade has grown at a rate higher than GDP since the 1950s. Therefore, it may be stated that, presently, the existence of global markets is the result of an advanced stage of the process of internalization of the different economies, which began with the start of industrial capitalism in the 19th century.
This notwithstanding, it needs be understood that, features of any phenomenon become more clearly defined as the process becomes more explicit in the everyday activities of societies. The same forces which have given rise to the processes of globalization of the world economies, have also triggered new realities which not only involve more advanced phase in the process of integration but also constitute a completely different state. This new qualitative status of the process of integration may be expressed by the differentiation made by ECLAC, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Carribbean which distinguishes between the so called ''superficial integration phase'' and the ''deep integration phase''. Superficial integration is the phase in which trade mainly of goods, played the major role. Thus, the goals sought by the different countries were relatively independent from each other. The only other requirement on the international arena was that ''the rules of the game'' should lead to the gradual and progressive liberalization of trade in such a way as to prevent a subsequent invalidation through Administrative measures. Once the rules of the game were established and guaranteed, the market was supposed to be operating as to maximize the benefits for the countries participating in the exchange.
In economics, the word integration was first employed in industrial organization to refer to combinations of competitors, vertical integration, to combinations of suppliers with economic agreements, cartel, concerns, trusts, and merger – horizontal integration referring to combination of competitors, vertical integration of combination of suppliers with customers. In the current sense of combining separate economies into larger economic regions, ''the use of the word integration to the 1930s and the 1940s''(Macblup, 1977). There are economic as well as political reasons why nations pursue economic integration. The economic rationale for the increase in trade between member states of economic unions is that it leads to higher productivity. This is one of the reasons for the global tendency towards the development of economic integration, a phenomenon now realized in continental economic blocs- like the European Union, the European Community, the comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Africa, the Transatlantic Free Trade Area, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), etc. It is therefore, necessary to identify some of the benefits ECOWAS to member-states since its inception.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Africa is bedeviled by deep-seated poverty level, lowest share of world trade, slow pace of development in human and structural development. This has made regional economic integration pertinent issue. “Just as its importance in enhancing economic growth and development through trade need not to be overemphasized, it also goes with a lot of noneconomic benefits such as the prevention and resolution of conflicts and the promotion of regional security'' (Carbaugh, 2004). In ordinary parlance, the term 'integration' means to bring parts of an object into a complete whole, while in economic terms, it would imply, in its narrowest sense ''the coordination of economic activities within a country for the purpose of enhancing the development of that particular country''(Mutharika, 1972). In the views of Biswaro (2003), ''regional economic integration involves the process of trade, economic and financial convergence of integrating states''.
Imbriani and Reganati (1994), observe that, ''the theory of economic integration evolved from the traditional trade theory which assumes perfect competition and whose major concern is the location of production of different types of goods''. Bhagwati in Jhingan (1986), defines 'free trade policy', as “absence of tariffs, quotas, exchange restrictions, taxes and subsidies on production and consumption'' while Lipsey (2001)believes, a world of free trade would be one with no tariffs and restrictions of any kind on importing or exporting''.
Economic integration introduces a degree of cooperation which ensures the benefits of free trade. The term is defined by Tinbergen (1965) as, “the creation of most desirable structures of international economy, removing artificial hindrances to the optimum operation and introducing deliberately, all desirable elements of coordination or unification.”International economic integration, therefore, refers to a decision or process whereby two or more countries combine into a larger economic region by removing discontinuities and discriminations existing along national frontiers, and by establishing certain elements of cooperation and co-ordination between them. There are obvious benefits as outlined in economic history with reference to Nigeria. There is the need to examine them from the Nigerian standpoint.
1.3. Research questions
Specifically, the study will seek to answer the following questions:
- What is the relationship between the economic integration and peace on the progress of West Africa
- What is the relationship between the economic integration and peace on the international trade within West Africa
- What is the relationship between language barrier and economic integration and peace on the in West Africa
1.4. Objectives of the Study
Specifically, the study shall be guide by the following study:
- To examine the relationship between the economic integration and peace on the progress of West Africa
- To examine the relationship between the economic integration and peace on the international trade within West Africa
- To examine the relationship between language barrier and economic integration and peace on the in West Africa
1.5. Statement of the hypothesis
- There is no significant relationship between the economic integration and peace on the progress of West Africa
- There is no significant relationship between the economic integration and peace on the international trade within West Africa
- There is no significant relationship between language barrier and economic integration and peace on the in West Africa
1.6. Significance of the study
The significance of the topic at stake is undeniably clear, as its pressing nature has been paramount throughout the past century. Its contemporary relevance may be theoretically framed from a realist perspective in terms of inducing stability into world order and ethically framed in terms of responsible sovereignty, especially with regards to the colonial legacy. In terms of stability, equitable growth and sustainable development its primacy is likewise beyond dispute and has been identified as a priority of the international community. Many strategies have been tested, yet the West African region remains in eminent danger of global and indeed even continental marginalization despite its abundant natural resources endowments. Waning support for free trade may pose a considerable threat to the functionality and legitimacy of the regional trading system. Trade, however, has been identified as beneficial for development on the basis of certain premises. Whether this policy alternative is viable and equitable is therefore, a question with which development economists and politicians have been preoccupied for decades. ‘Policy matters,’ and therefore must be geared toward effectively promoting structures, which in turn are capable of overcoming prevalent deficiencies. On these grounds, it is conclusive to assert that the systematic and comprehensive examination of this theme is indispensable.
1.7. Limitation of study
In every research work, it is likely that the researcher may encounter some limitations. The researcher encountered some challenges during the period of carrying out this research. Some of these challenges include the dearth of materials for a proper and effective research work constituted a major limitation. Again, how to get the true and required information from the students through questionnaire also constituted a constraint in the study.
Finally, there was the problem of convincing the students on the primary objectives of the questionnaire so as to give the true and required information. However, the intervention of the class teachers in the schools who took time to clear the air and convince his students helped the investigator to administer the instrument successfully.
1.8 Scope of the study -
The scope of the study was delimited to the relevance of economic integration and peace on West Africa using Nigeria and Benin as a study area.
1.9 Operational Definition of terms
1: the act or process or an instance of integrating: such as
a: incorporation as equals into society or an organization of individuals of different groups (such as races)
b: coordination of mental processes into a normal effective personality or with the environment
2a: the operation of finding a function whose differential is known
b: the operation of solving a differential equation
Economic integration is an agreement among countries in a geographic region to reduce and ultimately remove, tariff and non tariff barriers to the free flow of goods or services and factors of production among each others; any type of arrangement in which countries agree to coordinate their trade, fiscal, and/or monetary policies are referred to as economic integration. Obviously, there are many different stages of integration.
a. integration as an outcome – integration as something static; integration can be achieved when certain criteria are fulfilled
b. integration as a process – integration as a dynamic process; represented by stages of integration going from FTA to political integration.
Peace: "Peace" is used to describe the cessation of violent conflict. Peace can mean a state of quiet or tranquility— an absence of disturbance or agitation. Peace can also describe a relationship between any people characterized by respect, justice and goodwill.