Challenges to Intra-Regional Migration and Economic Integration in West Africa: A Focus on Ghana and Nigeria

Stephen Adaawen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

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The importance of intra-regional mobility within West Africa has seen the evolution of several legal and policy legislations aimed at facilitating regional migration and economic integration. Several efforts at implementing the ECOWAS protocols and other migration policy initiatives by different national governments within the sub-region have geared towards reaping the benefits of regional migration and economic integration. Despite the recognition that migration facilitates economic growth and poverty reduction, the issues of migration policy, cooperation and intra-regional migration are still saddled with challenges within the sub-region and across the continent. These challenges are exemplified by ‘frustrating’ border and visa controls, xenophobia, difficulty in business start-ups, and lack of adequate transport and trade relations between member states.
In particular the ECOWAS protocols, aimed at facilitating the free movement of persons and goods, right of residence and establishment, and trade as basis for effective regional cooperation and economic integration among member states, is fraught with the daunting practicalities of implementation. Different national migration and economic policies, lack of clear-cut recognition for migrant rights and integration, and corruption has tended to undermine the effective implementation of the provisions of the protocols. Drawing on existing literature and studies on the subject, this paper critically engages the issues and challenges of regional migration and integration within the context of ECOWAS, with a focus on Ghana and Nigeria. The paper calls for synergies in national migration policies, concerted political commitment and approach to effective cooperation and implementation of regional migration policies and protocols as a way to enhancing trade, intra-regional migration and economic development between states. It is envisaged that this will contribute to tackling the root causes of irregular migration, economic integration and sustainable development within the sub-region.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 5-Oct-2017
Externally publishedYes
EventUNU-WIDER Development Conference: “Migration and Mobility” - University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Duration: 5-Oct-20176-Oct-2017


ConferenceUNU-WIDER Development Conference: “Migration and Mobility”
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