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financial integration promotes democracy in West Africa

Speculation about the disciplining power of financial globalization has been taking place for quite some time now. During election violence in Ivory Coast earlier in 2011 we may have seen this happening. West Africa is according to some people perhaps the most financially integrated region in the world other than the Eurozone. This integration proved to provide some level of discipline during the Ivory Coast election violence.

“As violence struck in the Ivory Coast, following disputed elections in December 2010, the regional stock exchange had to suspend operations on 11 February 2011, after its offices were seized by forces loyal to the disputed leader Laurent Gbagbo. Trading ceased for weeks until the exchange temporarily relocated to the Malian capital, Bamako on March 1, 2011. The bourse returned to Abidjan on May 16, after the conflict ceased. Over the period of the conflict, the UMEOA [West Africa Economic and Monetary Union] central bank also located in Abidjan, became a focal point of the conflict after it was instructed by ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] leaders not to cooperate with the disputed leader.”

Implications from ACET:

“What is to be made of this? Can we imply that economic integration, especially monetary integration could be good for promotion of democracy in West Africa? Until now, the union had never explored the option of using its monetary power to influence democratic development. Its role in the Ivory Coast crisis is unprecedented and has set an example that could be a reference point for a role for monetary integration for the future of democracy in West Africa.”

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