English Version:

    Charles Valy Tuho:
    West Africa and the future of relations between the ACP countries and the European Union

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 1]

Arbeitspapiere zur EU-Entwicklungspolitik

Working papers on EU-Development Policy

Documents de travail sur la politique du développement de l’UE


Charles Valy Tuho

West Africa and the Future of the Relations between the ACP Countries and the European Union

Original: French

Translation: Michael Forrest

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 2]

Arbeitspapiere zur EU-Entwicklungspolitik

The series „Working papers on EU-Development Policy" takes up topical problems in European development policy. It is intended to provide a forum for discussing political options for creating European development policy and the dialogue between North and South. Its objective is to contribute to a better understanding in pursuing a coordinated and coherent European development policy as agreed under the terms of the Maastricht treaty.

ISSN … 1432-9824
ISBN …3-86077-595-2

The series appears at irregular intervals. It may be ordered free of charge from the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, D-53170 Bonn/Germany.


Projektgruppe Entwicklungspolitik
Christiane Kesper

Copyright 1996 by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Godesberger Allee 149, 53175 Bonn

Layout: PAPYRUS – Schreib- und Büroservice
Printed in Germany 1996

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 3]

Previous Item Page Top Next Item

Charles Valy Tuho
West Africa and the Future of the Relations between the ACP Countries and the European Union

An analysis of limitations of the regional development potential shows that a series of social, economic and institutional factors have hampered the progress of regional integration. A more pragmatic approach to regional integration still needs to be developed. In this context, the experience of co-operation with the EU reveals that Lomé has had an impact on a variety of areas at the regional level through the Regional Indicative Plans.

In the future, greater attention should be focused on regional programming, on establishing more extensive regional dialogue, and on a better identification of co-operation partners that can also foster regional integration. Two regional organisations are already playing a role, namely the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the more successful Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Support for structural adjustment also needs to address the need for regional integration. A first conclusion is that the impact of EU co-operation on the process of regional integration has been rather negative. As such, the regional private sector is now expected to play a greater role in the process of regional integration. Still, renewed co-operation with the EU will be essential in the future. It will be based on a range of common interests, from the geopolitical to the economic and social. In order to increase its impact on regional integration, the EU will have to focus on strategic sectors of co-operation, ranging from infrastructure development to the promotion of the private sector, to better debt servicing, environmental protection and the promotion of democracy. This renewed co-operation will require new institutions better able to address the growing diversity of the region.

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 4]

Previous Item Page Top Next Item


This paper was prepared for the seminar on „The Future of Lomé" organised by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Brussels on the 10-11 June 1996 and for the Conference on the „Future EU-ACP Relations beyond Lomé IV" organised by the European Center for Development Policy Management in Maastricht on 12-14 June 1996.

We would like to thank the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) in Maastricht for its support during the preparation of these studies and for its continuous and constructive co-operation on a wide range of development issues.

Finally, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who helped move these studies through the publication process. The successful completion of this project would not have been possible without their dedication and effort.

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 5]

Table of Contents








Main economic and social characteristics



Demographic and social characteristics



Economic and institutional limitations



Potential of WAEMU



Difficulties of ECOWAS






Regional indicative programmes in West Africa



Structural adjustment



The private sector and other parties






Joint interests



Future co-operation



West Africa and the future of the Lomé Convention



The strategic sectors of co-operation







[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 6]

Previous Item Page Top Next Item



Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific


African Development Bank


Community Development Fund


Compagnie francaise de l’Afrique occidentale


Ivory Coast Centre for Economic and Social Research


Global Coalition for Africa


Economic Community of West African States


European Development Fund


European Economic Community


Fund for Solidarity and Economic Development of the West African Economic Community


Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel


Organisation for the Development of the Senegal River


Regional Co-operation Tax


Regional Indicative Programmes


Sustainable Food Security in Central West Africa


Societé Commerciale de l’Ouest Afrique


West African Clearing House


West African Economic Community


West African Monetary Union


World Trade Organisation

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 7]

Previous Item Page Top Next Item

1. Introduction

Relations between West Africa and Europe began a long time ago. We know that the slave trade began in the 15th century and ended in the 18th and that in the 19th century the Conference of Berlin initiated the partition of Africa and territorial settlement by the European powers in Africa.

In West Africa, France grouped its territories into a federation, French West Africa comprised the following 9 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and, at a later date, Togo. Great Britain’s territories were: Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Portugal’s territories were Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, whereas Liberia retained its independence.

The political independence obtained by most of these countries in 1960 was to bring about a change in relations between West Africa and Europe. In fact, the creation of the EEC in 1957 had already led to the foundation of the European Development Fund (EDF) to aid the former colonies. This Fund was integrated into the Yaoundé Conventions, the first of which came into existence in 1963. The growth in the EEC allowed the grouping of the respective former colonies of the European powers with some other African countries, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) – resulting in the First Lomé Convention, which was signed in 1975.

This was followed by three other Lomé Conventions, each of which ran for a five-year period, with the exception of Lomé IV, which runs for ten years and expires in the year 2000.

This examination of the prospects Post-Lomé IV concentrates on regional co-operation, one of the priorities of the Lomé Conventions. Three questions arise with regard to West Africa:

  1. What are the current limitations and the development potential for the region?

  2. What lessons can be drawn from the experience of relations between West Africa and the European Union?

  3. Finally, what is the potential of renewed co-operation between them?

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 8]

Previous Item Page Top Next Item

2. Limitations and Development Potential in the Region

West Africa has varied climatic zones and reliefs, with sub-soil rich in minerals and hydrocarbons, and a large population estimated at around 194 million in 1990 for all sixteen countries in the region.

The economic potential of West Africa is significant. Yet in view of the envisaged perspective of relations between West Africa and the EU, we must emphasise the problems of co-operation and regional integration after examining the main economic and social characteristics of the region. These include:

  1. the main economic and social characteristics

  2. the potential of WAEMU

  3. the difficulties of ECOWAS.

2.1 Main economic and social characteristics

For observers, one of the main features of West Africa is that „the region is a continuum inside which divisions are arbitrary. National frontiers define territories. These are eclipsed on the one hand by adherence to cross-border networks. On the other hand they are also eclipsed by multiple adherence to overlapping units. There is therefore no relation between the national area defined by territorial frontiers and deployment areas of operators’ strategies". [Cf. J. Coussy and P. Hugon: „Regional integration and structural adjustment in sub-Saharan Africa", Ministry for Co-operation, Paris 1991, page 48.]

In this context, we shall examine the demographic and social characteristics and then the economic and institutional limitations.

a) Demographic and social characteristics

According to a study of long-term prospects in West Africa (1994), [The Sahel Club and Synergy, 1994.] the dynamics of population explain a great deal about past developments in West Africa and will determine its future, at least for the next generation.

The population of West Africa, including Cameroon and Chad, has grown from 45 million in 1930, to 87 million in 1960 and 194 million in 1990. It is estimated that it will reach 430 million by the year 2020. This assumed average, which is substantiated in the study, is at the lower end of the generally acknowledged range of estimations and takes into account the impact of AIDS, which is pandemic.

The proportion of town-dwellers within this population has grawn from 4% in 1930 to 14% in 1960 and 40% in 1990. By the year 2020 this will exceed 60%. Despite the growth of cities, the rural population has increased by 60% between 1960 and 1990 and will continue to grow at least for the next two decades. In the space of four generations, the population of the region will thus have increased by a factor of 10 and the urban population by a factor of 100. This phenomenon is on such a scale that it has become a deciding factor in the development of the West African economies and societies and in regional geo-politics.

The number of town-dwellers grew from 12 million to 78 million between 1960 and 1990, with cities accounting for almost two-thirds of the total demographic growth.

As far as the social characteristics are concerned, these may be summarised by one main factor that is becoming more and more evident (as is the case in Africa as a whole): its inability to

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 9]

manage the very conditions of human existence and to act as a force for spiritual and cultural creativity. This has produced a social crisis seen in an apathetic population without any apparent inspiration and completely subjected to the vagaries of external factors: economic, political, social and cultural shocks.

b) Economic and institutional limitations

West Africa as a joint economic area is characterised by the following:

  • The importance of the historical factors of integration, particularly between land-locked and coastal countries. These channels exist in the form of informal trading despite formal trade barriers which have been implemented by the states. This historical development has resulted in the creation of sub-areas for trade within the region. The Sahel Club and the ICDCS have identified three main sub-areas in West Africa [Cf. Regional integration processes in West Africa: institutional convergence or spontaneously established areas. Texts: E. Crenon and A. Vuillet. Université Laval 1994, page 37.]:

  • western sub-area: Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, western Mali;

  • central sub-area: eastern Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana;

  • eastern sub-area: Nigeria and neighbouring countries, in particular Benin, Togo and Niger.

The other characteristics of the West African economic area are well-known, i.e.:

  • the huge inequality in economic development particularly between land-locked and coastal countries and also between Nigeria and the other countries in the region;

  • the restrictions in the national markets aside from Nigeria, but also the importance of commercial links between these countries and the northern countries, especially Europe, in relation to inter-regional links, which remain relatively weak;

  • the lack of specialisation. In many cases there is a multiplication of the same investments (textiles, sugar refineries, oil refineries and cement works) and consequently production is small scale.

From an institutional aspect there are a host of organisations with a regional mission, but the most important are the organisations for harnessing rivers, the Senegal (OMVS – Organisation for the Development of the Senegal River), the Gambia and the Mano.

The counterpart of this group is the group concerned with the Sahel, the Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (ICDCS).

There are basically two supranational organisations that highlight the prospects of integration and regional co-operation in West Africa. These are: the West African Economic Community (WAEC), which after some modifications became the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Although ECOWAS faces numerous obstacles, WAEMU has fewer difficulties.

2.2 Potential of WAEMU

The West African Economic Community (WAEC) emerged from its colonial legacy. It was formed in 1966 and its aim was and is to join together most of the former territories of ex-French West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.

These countries aim to promote „faster and more balanced growth", and the means of regional co-operation is based on three main mechanisms:

  • RCT (regional co-operation tax). This is a preferential tariff concerning registered products. There is a differentiation between three types of products: local products and traditional handicrafts, which are not subject to customs duties, industrial products registered for RCT and non-registered products.

  • CDF (Community Development Fund). The aim of this fund is to redistribute the fruit of

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 10]

    integration. It functions as a financial and commercial clearing mechanism between the exporting country and the importing country.

  • FOSIDEC (Fund for Solidarity and Economic Development of the West African Economic Community). This is a solidarity fund established in 1978. Its allocations grew from 5 billion CFA in 1979 to 13.5 billion CFA in 1984. It has paid out 37.4 billion in loans and 26.3 billion in subsidies.

WAEC has stepped up intra-community trade, which increased from 5.1% in 1965, to 6.2% in 1980 and 7% in 1985. However, it has experienced a crisis: financial difficulties have multiplied the dysfunctions and have prevented funding of compensation mechanisms. The RCT scheme has been replaced by a community solidarity levy.

As of 1994, the WAEC was replaced by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), which included not only Mauritania but also Togo and Mali. This also incorporates the monetary aspect (WAMU).

2.3 Difficulties of ECOWAS

ECOWAS was established in 1975 and comprises 16 countries. However, there are marked differences in development between these countries. There are also three different groups with regard to the implementation and time-scale for lifting customs barriers. The first group comprises the richest and most industrialised countries, i.e. Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Senegal. The second group comprises the other 12 countries.However, an intermediate group has been identified comprising Guinea-Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo and Benin.

According to the ECOWAS treaty, „the aim of the community is to promote co-operation and development in all fields of economic activity, the purpose of which is to increase the standard of living of its people, to enhance and maintain economic stability, to strengthen relations between its members and to contribute to progress and development on the African continent" (Art. 2).

There is therefore a very ambitious aim. However, the treaty does not impose monetary union on the member states, but rather it provides for harmonisation of monetary policy, which is needed to ensure that the community functions smoothly. A West African Clearing House (WACH) was set up in 1975 by the central banks of the ECOWAS states. Likewise a co-operation, compensation and development fund was provided for, the aim of which is to provide an even distribution of the costs and advantages of integration between the different member states of the community.

Nevertheless, many reports and studies on ECOWAS confirm the inefficiency of this organisation. Therefore, „with no political resources and only limited financial resources, the wish to tackle everything only means that nothing is done" (1990) [Cf. M. Diouf: „Evaluation of West African experiments in economic integration" in „The long-term perspective study of sub-Saharan Africa", vol. 4, Proceedings of a workshop on regional integration and co-operation, World Bank 1990.].
For its part, the African Development Bank (ADB) states in its report on the problems of integration in Africa (1989): „However, implementation of a system of co-operation and the achievements of ECOWAS have been relatively insubstantial. Trade within the community has not been stimulated, it has even shown a tendency to decrease" [ADB: „Report on development in Africa, 1989", page 86.].

The obstacles to greater progress in regional co-operation and integration within ECOWAS are evident: difficulties of an economic nature, such as obstacles to intensifying trade [Cf. Allech M’Bet and Camara Aïssata: „Economic groups and intra-African trade. An analysis of the obstacles to in tensifying trade of goods manufactured in West Africa", Cah. CIRES no. 1, Abidjan 1993.] and monetary problems [Cf. O. Ojo: „Monetary obstacles and other financial prob lems in intra-African trade: a case study of ECOWAS", ADB 1987.].
Political obstacles are significant, showing the weakness and even the lack of political will of member states. There is also a certain amount of fear of Nigeria, not only due to its economic strength but also due to a certain cultural and psychological attitude. Did a Nige-

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 11]

rian humorist not examine the difficulty of being Nigerian in „How to be a Nigerian"?

Nevertheless, if integration is to be a major contribution to the development of West Africa, it will presumably have to move on from the standpoint of global integration to a more pragmatic approach. Its primary aim would have be to arouse greater motivation of the member states to make a success of ECOWAS and to carry out studies to predict virtual conflict zones between each country’s economy and ECOWAS’s regulations.

However, creation of the bank „Ecobank" and above all the community defence force „Ecomog" must be credited to ECOWAS.

Thus the limitations of development in West Africa are basically due to economic and social problems and difficulties in regional co-operation and integration. Open frontiers and various trade networks make „West Africa de facto a free trade area".

With regard to the regional organisations, according to the World Bank (1989), WAEC (WAEMU) is the union, which has had the greatest success; this is characterised by convertibility of currencies, labour and capital mobility and a substantial level of intra-community trade (more than 10%) [In „Sub-Saharan Africa – from crisis to sustainable growth", 1989, page 179.].

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 12]

Previous Item Page Top Next Item

3. Experience of Relations with the European Union

In West Africa, relations between the EU and West Africa are currently more in the foreground than the traditional relations between the former colonial powers and each of the member states of ECOWAS. Such relations are diverse and varied and have been brought about by implementation of the Lomé Conventions, i.e. trade and co-operation in various fields of economic activity like agriculture, industry and services.

The diversity of such relations is thus apparent: we can imagine the political impact of an imposition of sanctions on certain countries in West Africa which do not respect human rights. This is also the case for humanitarian aid for victims of local conflicts, such as those in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Nevertheless, within the scope of this report, i.e. strengthening of regional integration and co-operation links in West Africa and in its relations with the EU, two aspects deserve priority. First, in regard to such relations, the focus should be on funding granted by the EU within the scope of regional indicative programmes (RIP) in West Africa. Second, the impact of structural adjustment policies on this process and the role of the private sector need to be addressed.

3.1 Regional indicative programmes in West Africa

Regional co-operation and integration are among the main aims expressed by the Lomé Conventions. Since Lomé I, considerable funding has been allocated to this sector of ACP-EU co-operation. Within the terms of Lomé IV, 125 billion ECU were distributed between the 7 ACP sub-regions for a period of five years.

In this context, a relevant analysis of relations between West Africa and the EU would require more extensive research with regard to the amount of funding guaranteed by the regional indicative programme (RIP), the sectors of activity concerned, the time-scale of funding and the results. Unfortunately, at present we have to make do with general indications – a critical evaluation of such funding will only be possible at a later stage.

As far as West Africa is concerned, the amount of funding by the RIP increased regularly from Lomé I to Lomé III and decreased with Lomé IV. From 94.9 million ECU (Lomé I), this figure increased under Lomé II (141 million ECU) and especially under Lomé III (242.068 million ECU). According to the first financial statement of Lomé IV, this figure is 228 million ECU.

The main areas of activity for Lomé III and IV are transportation and communication, protection of natural resources and the environment, development of human resources (i.e. health, both human and animal, training, agricultural research, food security, cultural co-operation and fishing) and regional integration in the form of support for WAEMU, ECOWAS and the World Coalition for Africa.

It should be noted that no figure is reserved initially for the supra-national, organisations, ECOWAS-WAEMU. The amounts granted are only allocated in response to individual requests, which results in a dispersal of resources for various regional projects. The distinction made between coastal West Africa and the Sahel is not relevant in all cases, given the variety of the projects.

In actuality the observations relevant to all the regional programmes are perfectly applicable to the RIP in West Africa [Amos Tincani: „Regional co-operation under Lomé: experience and development of the three conventions", Le Courrier, ACP no. 112, page 73.], i.e.:

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 13]

  • the need to pay greater attention to regional programming instead of resorting to annex III of the national indicative programmes;

  • establishment of more extensive multilateral dialogue between the countries in the region and their main regional organisations, which enables priorities to be set and regional integration to be planned;

  • a careful study of the question of the existence and the importance of parties involved and projects which provide impulses and contribute to the process of integration in West Africa.

3.2 Structural adjustment

As already indicated, one of the central goals of the Lomé Conventions is to intensify regional co-operation and to progressively establish integrated economic areas. Within the scope of Lomé IV, the EU is now making structural adjustment one of the instruments of development policy in the ACP countries. So the problem arises as to relations between the structural adjustment programmes and the prospects for regional integration, especially in West Africa.

As J. Coussy and P. Hugon (1991) state: „The process of adjustment plays a positive or negative role in regional co-operation and integration. The structural adjustment programmes aim in particular to reorganise public finances and to open and liberalise economies. However, as these were created in a domestic environment, at different times and under different conditions, merging of national economic policies appears doubtful. The observed effects of these differ in expectations. Ignoring the interdependencies between structures and economic policies may well augur badly for integration, which is already underway". [In „Regional integration and structural adjustment in sub-Saharan Africa", op. cit. page 11.]

In fact, the results of such adjustment were considered to be disappointing. In the ACP countries, they fell far short of expectations. [Cf. P. and S. Guillaumont: „Adjustment and development: experience in the ACP countries", Economica, Paris 1994.]

Adjustment would be an asset for regional integration in that recovery of national economies should create more favourable conditions to develop real regional co-operation and to set up integrated areas in due course. In reality, structural adjustment possesses a national logic both in its aims and in its instruments. [Cf.: J. Boidin: „Regional co-operation in the test of struc tural adjustment", Le Courrier, ACP-CE no. 112, Nov./ Dec. 1988.]

The problem therefore remains to determine if the aim of Lomé IV – to adopt a programme of structural adjustment adapted to the specific conditions of the ACP countries – can be achieved so that the logic of the structural adjustment programmes, which essentially remains national, liberal and short-term, can be harmonised with strategies of economic integration, which are a product of a regional, voluntarist and long-term approach.

Therefore, for West Africa, cautious efforts undertaken by the EU for regional integration are limited by the structural adjustment programmes either of the agencies of Bretton Woods or of the EU itself (through Lomé IV, in particular).

3.3 The private sector and other parties

The relations between the EU and West Africa are mainly determined by the scope of the policies defined by the member states of the EU, especially the European Commission level. Nevertheless, other parties are featured, i.e. on the private sector level. Trading companies, mining companies, major agro-industrial units or large industries in the EU thus play a part in these relations.

In the West African context, regional strategies have been adopted on the level of large trading companies such as Bolloré, CFAO, SCOA. These companies are setting up in various West African countries and are contributing to the regional integration of these countries. Likewise, several industrial groups have adopted similar strategies.

Of course, these companies are trying to reduce transaction costs, to compensate for the failures of

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 14]

the market and to reduce the uncertainties of the environment. They are also trying to gain from imbalances in economic policies by taking advantage of competition or national complementarities. They are thus contributing to strengthening the process of integration. The same is true of networks of entrepreneurs and professional organisations.

In addition to the private sector, other initiatives can be noted in relations between the EU and West Africa. This is particularly true in the case of relations within the framework of decentralised co-operation, between districts in the EU and West Africa or between universities and research centres. Universities in the Netherlands are working together with universities in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali and Togo under the SADAOC programme (Sustainable Food Security in Central West Africa).

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 15]

Previous Item Page Top Next Item

4. Towards New Relations Between West Africa and the EU

In order to be relevant and lasting, new relations between West Africa and the EU have to be based both on explicit motivation, especially on joint interests, and also on a definition of new priorities within the framework of new institutions for co-operation.

A/ Joint interests

Both geography and history have woven such close links between West Africa and the EU that these regions need each other. Despite the fact that global development has tended to move away from such traditional relations, present and potential joint interests remain important. In this article, we limit ourselves to some general aspects of these interests to provoke discussion. These aspects are basically fourfold:

First of all, the geo-political aspect is seen in security research by Europe regarding stability for Africa. Since the decline of communism one of the threats that the EU seems to fear is religious fundamentalism. A strategy to avoid this danger would include West Africa.

From the African side it is evident that assured relations with Europe can contribute to stabilising African countries and to making them more efficient. In the same way such assured relations would allow expansion of democracy in Africa.

As far as reciprocal economic interests are concerned, these are apparent. Even if technological progress tends to reduce demand for commodities, the EU still needs products from West Africa to meet its needs, e.g. bauxite, petroleum, coffee, cocoa beans, etc. For its part, in addition to capital goods, West Africa should benefit from Europe as a market for export and food aid and also as a source for the means needed to combat poverty and famine which have a destabilising effect on the region.

With regard to social aspects, joint interests can be sketched out on two main levels:

  • On the one hand, the demographic situation in West Africa is well known. This is seen in a population explosion driving internal and external migratory fluctuations, which Europe is trying to contain, especially uncontrolled emigration.

  • On the other hand, health problems are acute, requiring endeavours to combat various epidemics, in particular AIDS which has reached pandemic proportions.

Finally, with regard to the environment, joint interests were highlighted at the Rio conference, and programmes to defend the environment within the scope of the „global village" were adopted.

In all these areas of joint interest, the problem that arises is that of balance and the need to show interaction between the two groups of countries. Moreover, in countries such as those in West Africa where traditional organisation is still present, the link between traditional and modern methods is a key issue implying decentralised management.

B/ Future co-operation

The importance and diversity of forces for change in relations between the EU and the ACP countries are apparent. These include, in particular, globalisation of the economy, development and expansion of the EU, formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) or technological innovations.

All these changes give rise to a new global context necessitating autonomous examination of

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 16]

prospects at the level of each of the ACP regions. The aim of co-operation is to make the ACP countries more autonomous by setting them on the path of endogenous development. As such, real independence can only be effective within a regional context. Renewed co-operation has to adopt a regional strategy.

On the West African level, this regional strategy should stress certain strategic sectors and the problem of institutions. We must therefore recall:

  • West Africa and the future of the Lomé Conventions;

  • the strategic sectors to be covered;

  • the institutions of future co-operation.

4.1 West Africa and the future of the Lomé Convention

The Maastricht Conference set up the Global Coalition for Africa (CMA) in July 1990. This produced a consensus to give the EU a major part in strengthening regional integration in Africa and in defining the process for analysing African problems in a long-term study of its prospects.

In this context, a workshop on West Africa and the future of the Lomé Convention is planned at the Ivory Coast Centre for Economic and Social Research (CIRES). It is necessary to define the problems involved in these developments:

  • on the one hand, by identifying the wishes of the population of this region – i.e. their aspirations in relations with EU countries;

  • on the other hand, by drawing up strategic diagnostics with regard to such relations. These diagnostics should be concerned with integration and regional development in their relations with the EU.

To this end, we will create three or four contrasting scenarios of the development of these relations within the scope of integration in West Africa. Then we will have to conclude from these scenarios the main subjects of research which will enable us to provide an appropriate response to the main aspects post-Lomé IV in West Africa.

This step is due to the need for a new political commitment, the foundation of which obviously depends on our vision of the future.

The priority given to regional integration in the vision of the future also facilitates increased efficiency in EU aid by alleviating the problem of its fungible nature, i.e. by ensuring that aid does not increase expenditure on consumer goods, as the theory of the fungibility of aid maintains.

4.2 The strategic sectors of co-operation

Within the context of renewed co-operation between the ACP countries and the EU, certain sectors appear strategic for economic integration in West Africa, both for ECOWAS and for WAEMU.

These sectors are the following with their performance criteria for which periodic project contracts with specific aims should be drawn up.

a) The infrastructures of integration

This features development of (road, rail, air and sea) transportation, telecommunications and energy with the aim of effective integration of the West African countries.

b) Human resources and research

The need for autonomous research in African countries is apparent as are the difficulties of reaching a critical efficiency threshold of such research in each country. Support by the EU is thus needed to develop such activity on a regional level by promoting, on the one hand, the creation of regional training and research centres and, on the other hand, access to information networks.

Likewise, strengthening of human resource capacities is needed (capacity building, training, health).

c) Promotion of the private sector

In various ACP countries, the EU is requested to assist the process of privatisation of certain

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 17]

enterprises. However, the need arises to promote the private sector as a factor of regional integration and increase competitiveness of the regional economy.

In this regional context, an efficient partnership between private sectors in Europe and Africa could develop best, both for the industrial partnership and for commercial strategies.

d) Funding of development and external debt

Within the context of renewed co-operation between the EU and the ACP countries, it will be necessary to consider the problem of the methods to better tap foreign investment in the ACP countries. Conversion of public debts into company assets to be privatised could be one such method.

In this context, can we conceive setting up a Euro-African Monetary Fund and Development Bank as some parties suggest? [Cf. Nobil Group, in „For a new Africa-Europe alliance", Futuribles, Paris 1992.]
This would mean converting African debts into a permanent African debt to this fund and the bank by paying half of the contributions by the EU countries in the form of deducted loans after relinquishing the interest.

Although it is relevant, this suggestion would presume a very high level of motivation by the EU for new co-operation with the African countries. At present, access to adapted funding, especially due to wide-scale access to EIB credits, would be very beneficial, as would support for convertibility of currencies, monetary stability and co-operation in West Africa and also for development of financial markets.

e) Environment: the Sahel, forests and lagoons

Support from the EU in this field should be better defined – whether this may be action against desertification within ICDCS or action against deforestation, pollution of lagoons or erosion of coastlines.

f) Governing and democracy

Within the context of regional integration, the stability of political systems in the member states of ECOWAS could be guaranteed better as a result of the reduction or even elimination of border conflicts, on the one hand, and, on the other, as a result of co-operation to resolve internal conflicts.

Regional co-operation within the context of supra-national institutions otherwise tends to reduce the somewhat patrimonial systems in various countries in the region either by steps to deprivatise them, which in turn contributes to researching new models of integration in West Africa, or by steps to develop participatory democracy in the region.

Likewise, the EU could contribute to stimulating social forces to promote the political will for regional integration on the basis of a popular campaign supported by intellectuals, the media, trade unions and professional associations, etc.

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 18]

Previous Item Page Top Next Item

5. Conclusion: Institutions for Renewed Co-operation

The results of this study of areas of renewed co-operation will enable us to better visualise the institutions of such co-operation. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the problems are becoming more and more complex and specific in each of the regions in the ACP group and that diversity between the groups is becoming more marked. Yet the need for unified action is vital, with the aim of becoming established as a force for negotiation.

Truly renewed co-operation implies political dialogue on a high level both within the ACP-EU context and in different regions with regard to issues specific to these regions.

The long-term prospects and efficiency of such renewed co-operation will doubtless arise not only from mutual respect, but also from the intensity of this dialogue in support of mutual interests.

Countries of West Africa
Economic Indicators


Population (thousands)

GDP (market price)
millions $

Exports (goods & services)

Imports (goods & services)
millions $

Foreign Debt
millions $

Debt Service
millions $

1. Benin








2. Burkina Faso








3. Cap Verde








4. Ivory Coast








5. Gambia








6. Ghana








7. Guinea








8. Guinea-Bissau








9. Liberia








10. Mali








11. Mauritania








12. Niger








13. Nigeria








14. Senegal








15. Sierra Leone








16. Togo
















Source: „Rapport sur le Développement en Afrique"

[page-number of print-ed.(Engl. part): 19]

Previous Item Page Top

About the Author

Professor Charles Valy Tuho is currently a researcher at the Centre for Economic and Social Research (CIRES) in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast. From 1983 to 1993, he was the Ambassador from the Ivory Coast to the European Community and the Benelux countries. He has also had a distinguished career at the University of Abidjan, as a professor of Economic Science (1970-1972), as dean of the Economic Science faculty (1972-1974), and as rector of the University of Abidjan (1974-1983). Professor Tuho is a member of the council of the U.V.I. in Geneva. From 1986 to 1992, he was a member of the board of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C. He was also a member of the council of the University of the United Nations in Tokyo (1980-1985). In 1970, he earned an Agretation of Economic Science in Paris; in 1965 his doctoral thesis in Economic Science in Paris; in 1962, D.E.S. in Economic Science in Paris.

© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | Februar 2002