The IUP Journal of International Relations
Theories of Regional Economic Integration and the Applicability Questions in West Africa

Article Details
Pub. Date : June, 2020
Product Name : The IUP Journal of International Relations
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJIR022020
Author Name : Oladiran Afolabi and Kazeem Omotola Seriki
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 17



Scholars have examined and revisited various theories of economic integration, including Comparative Advantage Theory, Functionalism, Neo-Functionalism, Inter- Governmentalism, Transactionalism, Complex Interdependence and Structuralism. However, there are fundamental questions as to the applicability and strengths of such theoretical approaches in the explanation of the phenomenon of integration, considering the peculiar experiences of some societies or regions. How adequate are these theoretical approaches in the explanation of regional integration in West Africa? Do these theories sufficiently or adequately explain the incidence of proliferation of regional economic groups and sub-groups in West Africa? This paper is a rigorous and clinical attempt at providing answers to these salient questions. The answers to these salient issues are attempted by interrogating various theoretical approaches within which integration and cooperation have been investigated by scholars. Utilizing data majorly obtained from secondary sources, the paper posits, among other things, that in order to explicate the phenomena of proliferation of regional economic groups, subgroupings and multiple membership in West Africa, a theory that reflects the historical and neo-colonial ties between African states and their erstwhile colonial masters must be adopted and institutionalized.


Theoretical approaches to the analysis of regional integration seem to provide either an explanation for integration success or integration failure. Schneider has argued that Regional Integration Theory cannot account for both.1 Indeed, any attempt to explain integration without reviewing what integration theories constitute might be an incomplete exercise. However, no single theory is effective in explaining adequately the critical dynamics of the processes of international change that are the key to regional integration.2 It is generally accepted by contemporary scholars and contributors to this theoretical discussion on integration and cooperation.3 Scholars


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