The Oakland Institute in collaboration with Action Against Hunger (ACF) have published a new Report, titled ACHIEVING REGIONAL INTEGRATION: The key to success for the fight against hunger in West Africa
You may download the Report Here (pdf).
In the report, the argument is made that if West African nations do not move decisively towards regional integration, no amount of money, development, or agricultural technology, will be sufficient or effective at ending hunger.
Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director at the Oakland Institute and author of the report asserts that
"many issues, such as price volatility, are regional by essence and cannot be tackled effectively by individual countries. Without integration most West African states will remain subject to the agenda and goodwill of international donors, institutions and richer countries.Resource-poor African governments need to implement regional policies for sustainable food production, smoother regional trade and regulated agricultural markets.."
The report elaborates on the potential for ECOWAP (the Regional Agricultural Policy for West Africa), which is a "comprehensive and ground-breaking food and agriculture common policy in West Africa," to bring durable solutions to hunger and poverty.
My own take on this is that African governments cannot begin soon enough to take extremely seriously the question of lifting out of poverty more people from among their populations. The need for this is urgent, in a world in which populations worldwide are growing and competition for resources is intensifying. A nation, a large percentage of whose population is kept poor, is a nation that will remain underdeveloped in perpetuity. Nigeria is a case in point, this baffling paradox that is a wealthy, leading petroleum and natural-gas producing and exporting nation, which has an overwhelmingly large proportion of her people living in poverty.
China has the world's largest population, but has succeeded in lifting out of poverty 400 million of her citizens over the last 30 years, a number that is perhaps as large as the population of the entire West African region.