- BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Modern patterns of economic dependence in Africa are product of a profound global transformation that had occurred primarily within the last 2 countries. West Africa participation in an international economy had been significant for over a thousand years. During the fifteenth century innovations in marine technology made it possible for European ships to circumnavigate the Africa continent. The primary objective was the spice trade of the Far East but every opportunity was taken to develop new trading opportunities on the African continent. Portugal retained a virtual monopoly of the Africa seaborne trade during the sixteenth century but was subsequently ousted by the Dutch and British. From the early seventeenth century to the middle of nineteenth century, approximately 12-15 million Africans were successfully removed across the Atlantic and to a lesser extent across the Sahara and Mediterranean. The reduction of population in situation, where agriculture was the dominant economic activity and where labor is generally acknowledged to have been scarce in relation to land would almost certainly have resulted in reduced agriculture output. It is unlikely then that the slave trade made any positive contribution to an improvement in the productive capacities of African economy, there was little significant diffusion of technology into Africa from the rest of the world apart from the introduction of crops like maize and cassava and the nature of trade goods involved- cloth, firearms, liquor etc did not encourage further productive process.
An economic arrangement between different regions marked by the reduction and elimination of trade barriers and the coordination of monetary and fiscal policies. The aim of economic integration is to reduce costs for both consumers and producers, as well as to increase
trade between the countries taking part in the agreement. Economic integration is the unification of economic policies between different states through the partial or full abolition of tariff and non-tariff restrictions on trade taking place among them prior to their integration. This is meant to turn to lead to lower prices for distributors and consumers with the goal of increasing the combined economic productivity of the states.