Prof. Djénéba Traoré
WAI Director General
The West Africa Institute (WAI) is a think tank serving regional integration institutions and remains deeply committed to the principle that «Reflection must necessarily precede decisions and actions».
Created to give the concept of "regional integration" a scientific dimension and to link theory with practice in the ongoing process in West Africa, WAI is now at a crossroads.
The conceptualization and implementation phase of the management bodies of WAI was followed by the methodological phase of capitalization and pooling of academic knowledge on regional integration. This stage was marked by fruitful collaborations with several institutions sharing similar objectives with WAI. This include partnerships with the Center for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (Portugal), the ZEI (Center for European Integration Studies) of the University of Bonn (Germany), UNI-CV (Cabo Verde) in collaboration with UNU-CRIS (Belgium) on the creation of a Master in African Regional Integration within the framework of the IAO-ZEI project on «Sustainable Integration in West Africa and Europe», the RISC Consortium (University of Luxembourg) and the REPAOC (Cabo Verde).
After six years of existence, the Institute decided to take stock and move on
to a new stage in its development.
WAI now wishes to strengthen its experience on the field and to listen to the
populations, propose solutions and act for the socio-economic development of the region with a Pan-African vision.
In fact, the field trial began with the holding of the Scientific and Political
Dialogue in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire)
on 29 and 30 March 2012 on the theme: «Assessment of Research on
Regional Integration and the Strategy of the Stakeholders
in West Africa». The objective of this meeting was to appreciate the research
produced by WAI, to make amendments
and recommendations for a future publication and its appropriation by the
actors of the region. More than 40 resource persons from ECOWAS,
UEMOA, and the the Mano River Union (MRU), research centers, Ministries
and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) took part in the workshop.
A second major field activity was for WAI to organize the first training seminar
in Lome (Togo) from 24 to 28 June 2013 on «The Challenges of Regional
Integration in West Africa and in the World» With financial and technical
support from OSIWA.
The training was provided to 35 participants (decision makers,
managers, members of CSO, stakeholders in charge of regional integration,
etc.) by eight trainers whose skills ensured the success of the activity.
Through its network of researchers and experts, WAI is able to carry out
specific studies commissioned by regional integration institutions in
West Africa and beyond. WAI has therefore set itself the task of taking a
critical look at the effectiveness of the actions already carried out and of
making suggestions for a better consolidation of the
achievements of regional integration in West Africa. In 2015 for instance,
WAI successfully carried out for the GIZ Support
Programme for the ECOWAS Commission the study on the
«Evaluation of the Regional Strategic Plan 2011-1015»
which results were used to formulate the 2016-2020 Community Strategic
The field test will be decisive to mark the turning point initiated by WAI.
Our sincere thanks go to WAI Executive Committe and Strategic Partners,
to the Chairman and the members of the Board of Directors,
to the members of the Scientific Council, to WAI technical and scientific
partners, to WAI Fellows and experts, to the resource persons,
to WAI Team members and to all people of goodwill who have contributed
to the achievement of the objectives of the Institute.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017!
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