This work presents a historical framework and a plan for reform of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It is based upon in-country investigations, surveys of published works, and a thorough examination of primary sources. In this historical study of West Africa's quest for regional cooperation and integration from colonial times to the present, emphasis is placed on the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the media, and transnational civil society as catalysts for democratic governance both at the regional and national levels. Also specifically emphasized are the efforts at transforming the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) from an intergovernmental organization (IGO) into a structure of regional governance toward the formation of a borderless West African Union. The study posits ECOWAS as the historical culmination of a decades-old struggle for the building of mechanisms of collective self-reliance (CSR) among the sixteen nation-states which came to being in the 1950s and 1960s as a result of colonial partition and occupation begun in the nineteenth century.
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