Regional Integration and the Political Economy of Morocco’s Desire for Membership in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

  • Temitayo Isaac Odeyemi


On June 4, 2017, the Kingdom of Morocco, a North African country which belongs to, and houses the headquarters of, the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), formally applied for membership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). By the provisions of its Establishment Treaty (1975), and the Revised Treaty (1993), ECOWAS’ focal area is West Africa where it is also expected to draw its members. Morocco’s application, however, has thrown up controversies on the plausibility of such desires and how it aligns with the realities of regionalism in Africa. In Nigeria, the bloc’s powerhouse, the subject has thrown up contrasting opinions and interests between state and non-state actors, with the former showing no opposition while the latter continue to vehemently reject the idea. The situation is similar in other influential member states such as Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Senegal. In discussing the unfolding dilemma, this chapter argues that in Nigeria, the debate has centred largely on the propriety or otherwise of such cross-regional advances in line with established principles, agreements and treaties on the one hand, and Nigeria’s need to strategically police its sub-regional interests, on the other hand. There appears to be little or no attempt at subjecting the debate to the nuances of existing theoretical notions on regional integration and exploring its political economy undertone. This chapter takes this as a point of departure. In addition to a theoretical exposition on the role of state and non-state actors in the making, sustenance and, possibly, modification, of integration arrangements, the chapter draws on illustrative data to enlighten the understanding of how the addition of Morocco could help diversify the uncompetitive economies in the bloc and promote intra-regional trade. It also discusses the implications of a Moroccan membership of ECOWAS for existing power relations within the bloc.


Regionalism Morocco ECOWAS Regional integration Hegemony Intergovernmentalism 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Temitayo Isaac Odeyemi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceObafemi Awolowo UniversityIle-IfeNigeria

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