n Africa Insight - Migration, integration and inter-community development in West Africa

Volume 48 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


‘Free movement’ as a founding concept of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is notably a workable framework for facilitating development initiatives across various local communities in the ECOWAS region. Meanwhile, the importance that member states of ECOWAS place on national interests over larger regional interests has continued to hinder the region’s processes of migration and socio-economic integration. While differences rooted in colonialism and intrinsic political instability (and policy inconsistency) within member states of the ECOWAS have presented vast clogging in this regard, the informal practice of ‘transnational subsistence dualism’ along the Nigeria-Ivory Coast migration corridor continues to provide veritable leverage to the ECOWAS integration project, which has otherwise been formally elusive. Engaging an exploratory design and the theory of transnational social field, this study investigates the case of Nigerian shuttle and longterm migrants within the Nigeria-Ivory Coast migratory axis. Notably, cross-border shuttle traders, who generally consist of Ejigbo Nigerians, notably make up an active informal transborder group along the Nigeria-Ivory Coast migration corridor. This group of participants has largely been observed as the most viable vessel for enabling cross-regional interaction within West Africa.

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