Scoping report: Improving the perspective for regional trade and investment in West Africa

Improving the perspective for regional trade and investment in West Africa: the key to food security, economic development and stability in the region

Scoping report

  Women doing business at the Gouro market in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire). Photo: IMTFI / ENSEA (via Flickr)

Read the scoping report.

Increasing international concern about instability, population pressure, migration and chronic food insecurity in West Africa and growing awareness of the potential of enhanced intraregional trade and investment to contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic development, has prompted a number of development partners including The Netherlands to increase their efforts to support West African integration and cooperation.

Support for regional integration and cooperation in West Africa by The Netherlands fits well within its policy framework for Aid, Trade and Investment and aligns with key Dutch policy objectives to promote sustainable and inclusive economic development and to enhance food security. Furthermore, there is increased interest of Dutch businesses to invest in and trade with West Africa and growing recognition of the opportunities for Dutch businesses, knowledge institutes and civil society to contribute to sustainable economic development in West Africa.

In order for support to regional integration and cooperation in West Africa to be effective and calibrated to the specific needs of the region, there is a need to build a more comprehensive understanding of the diverse and complex regional dynamics and to gain insight into the opportunities and challenges to regional integration in West Africa.

Commissioned by the Food & Business Knowledge Platform, the overall objective of the study underlying this scoping report was to contribute to a more contextualized comprehensive picture of The Netherlands’ government's ongoing cooperation with West Africa and the perspective in terms of policy options for strengthening its effectiveness and coherence by giving more emphasis to the promotion of intraregional trade and investment.

The study has been carried out by a consortium of knowledge institutes comprised of the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL), the Agro-economic Research Institute of Wageningen University and Research (LEI-WUR) and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM).

In addition to this scoping report, the scoping study has also resulted in an annotated bibliography based on an inventory of literature on regional integration in West Africa, prepared by the Library, Documentation and Information Department of the African Studies Centre Leiden.

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