The inspiration for the creation of ECOWAS came from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), which had divided Africa earlier in the1960s into regions for purposes of economic development. The ECOWAS Treaty seeks to establish an economic and monetary union based on the removal of duties and equivalent taxes, the adoption of a common external tariff, and a harmonization of economic and sectoral policies. In 1993, ECOWAS revised its Treaty to introduce among other measures, the principle of supra-nationality concerning the application of its decisions. The ratification of the ECOWAS regional economic integration protocols and frameworks, like other various international community agreements, places both problems and benefits on the various nations in West Africa. This study identified the different Protocols and Frameworks of integration within the West-African sub-region, explored how these protocols and frameworks affect the economic environment of Ghana, and sought to analyze the negative effects of regional economic integration on Ghana. Economic Integration Theory was the

theory that guided this study. The study is purely qualitative and depended on both primary and secondary data. The findings discussed the ECOWAS protocols on free movement, the harmonization of economic and fiscal policies such as the CET and EPA, and how they have negatively impacted Ghana. Based on the findings, the work concludes and recommends that ECOWAS, the Ghanaian Government and Civil Society Organizations put greater effort into making integration work, eliminate differentiated regulatory schemes and trade standards, improve regional industrial policy, regional infrastructure and build strong regional institutions and policies.


       Background to the Study

For centuries, nations have sought to build relationships on various levels of endeavour, to establish collaborations and to explore avenues to create opportunities for the mutual benefit of their populations whilst finding ways to achieve greater harmony with neighbouring countries (Aning & Pokoo, 2014). According to Macaringue (2016), one of the ways nations seek to achieve these objectives is through regional integrations. The formation of regional integrations has been posited to enable nations to voluntarily defer their individual sovereignties to intergovernmental or supranational bodies in the pursuit of better conditions achieved through cooperation (Kabia, 2017). The aims of any regional integration policy, however, can be myriad varying from cultural, political, security, or economic.

Globally, regional trade membership has led to the formation of blocs such as the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the South African Development Community (SADC) and many others worldwide. In West Africa, in spite of the existence of the CFA franc zone, ECOWAS stands out as the prominent organization of national unification in the region (Addo, 2016). ECOWAS’ objectives, as outlined in the constitution of the body, are to foster collaboration and development, contributing to an economic union being formed in the region. This, in effect, will increase their peoples’ living standards, sustain and strengthen economic stability, enhance bonds between Member States, and lead to the African Continent’s advancement and growth.