Regional Trade institutions in West Africa: Historical Reflections

Bah, E., Jackson, K. and Potts, D.J. 2018. Regional Trade institutions in West Africa: Historical Reflections. Journal of International Development . 30 (8), pp. 1255-1272. https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.3292

TitleRegional Trade institutions in West Africa: Historical Reflections
TypeJournal article
AuthorsBah, E., Jackson, K. and Potts, D.J.
Abstract

This paper reflects on trade institutions across West Africa from the Empirehood to the present day. We found that regional trade institutions were more standardised across West Africa before the current countries gained their independence. We argue that reflection on past trade institutions could provide important guidance for policy makers currently involved in deepening the Economic Community of West African States. Our review of the literature suggests that the Empirehood was an era with more standardised trade institutions across the region relative to the current ones. Societal norms and political consensus such as the ‘Mande charter’ and the coming of Islam created a discipline that enhanced confidence in the ability to trade, which was facilitated by common trade institutions such as convertible common currencies and letters of credit. During the colonial era, West African common currencies were also established to facilitate exchange. Historical changes in governance resulted in the loss of some facets of well-functioning trade institutions. This paper argues that historical context can provide policy makers with the confidence that current institutional barriers to trade can be addressed. Economic Community of West African States members could reflect on historical good practices if they are to accelerate the integration process and to realise the full potential of regional trade.

Keywordstrade institutions
Empirehood
colonial
ECOWAS
JournalJournal of International Development
Journal citation30 (8), pp. 1255-1272
ISSN0954-1748
Year2018
PublisherWiley
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.3292
Web address (URL)https://bradscholars.brad.ac.uk/handle/10454/12020
Publication dates
Published online13 Jun 2017
Published in printNov 2018

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