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Volume Two Winter 2000-Spring 2001 Numbers 3-4.
UEMOA and ECOWAS: CONFLICT OR COOPERATION IN THE ERA OF THE “NEW REGIONALISM
Sekou Camara and John F. Clark
Department of International Relations
Florida International University
University Park, Miami, Florida 33199
Published Online February 15, 2017
Even as national economies have become more deeply integrated on a global scale in the last two decades, regional integration has experienced a renewed vigor since the late 1980s. While regional trade preferences and global economic liberalization may ultimately conflict, greater regional integration for developing countries should improve their bargaining power and prospects for development in the medium term. For the West African region, one important question is whether the “Francophone” regionalism of the Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest-Africaine (UEMOA) states is compatible with the broader regionalism represented by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), particularly in the context of the “new regionalism.” This article begins by arguing that UEMOA has not been an impediment to regional integration in the past, contrary to the views of some observers. The leaders of the UEMOA states have recognized that ECOWAS embodies the region’s long-term prospect for full integration. It is further argued that some of UEMOA’s achievements provide the depth of integration that ECOWAS has lacked, and that UEMOA can contribute to a broader regional integration. Moreover, as France and the French franc are gradually integrated more deeply into Europe, UEMOA’s unhealthy dependence on France will weaken. This, in turn, will facilitate further integration in West Africa.