The Centre for Democracy and Development is inviting academics, policy makers, independent researchers and public analysts to submit a well-researched think piece of not more than 3,000 words on Morocco’s accession to ECOWAS for its latest edition of the West Africa Insight WAI).

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was established on 28th May 1975 through the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, in Lagos, Nigeria, by Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. The Community was established to promote economic cooperation and integration amongst its members. Initially, in 1964, President William Tubman of Liberia tried to establish cooperation between West African States. In February 1965, an agreement was signed among Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone but nothing came of this agreement. It took the intervention of General Gowon of Nigeria and General Eyadema of Togo to re-launch the initiative in April 1972 and this eventually led to the establishment of ECOWAS on 28th May 1975. According to the ECOWAS Treaty, The aims of the Community are to promote cooperation and integration, leading to the establishment of an economic union in West Africa in order to raise the living standards of its peoples, and to maintain and enhance economic stability, foster relations among Member States and contribute to the progress and development of the African Continent.

Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, announced its interest through application to join ECOWAS in February 2017. Morocco’s desire to join ECOWAS may appear like the failure of the Arab Maghreb Union in the current framework; though, this may open more promising prospects. Over the years, Morocco has been establishing economic relationship with countries in the region. In all, the King of Morocco to States has visited the region 25 times of which Senegal was visited 8 times for economic reason. In Nigeria; for example, Morocco’s visits have led to collaboration with the government of Nigeria on fertilizers and oil and gas exploration and export.  Cote de Ivoire and Mali are said to be the highest beneficiaries of Morocco’s aid in the region. Following the application to the West Africa bloc, the country has been admitted in principle into ECOWAS.  However, ECOWAS is yet to work out the details of Morocco’s accession according to the President of Ivory Coast.  It is likely that a final decision will be made by the ECOWAS Heads of State during their next meeting which is scheduled to take place in Togo, December 2017.

Policy analysts and scholars in the region have expressed discordant opinions about Morocco accession since its announcement to join ECOWAS. On one hand, some examined this development as having economic benefit to the region. It has been argued that the emergence of Morocco as a member of ECOWAS bloc may give rise to a strong stimulus for exports in the region; the multiplier effect overall of the activity can be quite significant. Others have disputed the feasibility of including Morocco, who exercises a Monarchical form of government, into ECOWAS seeing that the West African regional bloc is an advocate of democracy.

WAI seeks to expand the knowledge flows on trends, innovations and challenges across West Africa by monitoring trends as they unfold and fill in the paucity of data on West African Affairs.

Intending authors are invited to submit their CVs and a full think piece of not more than 3,000 words on or before November 10, 2017 succinctly capturing the aim of the contribution. Submissions should be made electronically to iomoigiade@cddwestafrica.org before the due date.

 

 

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