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Regional integration in West Africa: UNESCO Seminar in Cape Verde
4-5 April 2007, Praia, Cape Verde
On 4 and 5 April, Cape Verde hosted a seminar in Praia on “Nation-states and the challenges of regional integration in West Africa – the case of Cape Verde”. It was organized by the Amílcar Cabral Foundation and UNESCO, with the support of the Government of Cape Verde, Africa Trust, the African Capacity-Building Foundation (ACBF) and Austrian Development Cooperation.

The meeting was opened by former President of the Republic of Cape Verde and President of the Amílcar Cabral Foundation, Aristides Pereira; the President of the Cape Verde National Assembly, Aristides R. Lima; and Pierre Sané, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences.

Eminent specialists in the social and human sciences, Cape Verde decision-makers, and national science coordinators from several other neighbouring countries attended the seminar: Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali and Senegal.

This meeting falls within the comparative research project that started in 2005 in the 15 ECOWAS member countries, under the aegis of UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme. Participants in the Praia two-day seminar were able to discuss experiences and analyses following the eight debates on:
  • the issue of illegal immigration and human rights;
  • the specificity of an island State and the Cape Verde diaspora;
  • Cape Verde and ECOWAS – a question of identity;
  • Cape Verde and integration in West Africa – from African to Cape Verde slave: the long process of reconstructing social identity;
  • Cape Verde and new regional prospects (Community of Portuguese-speaking countries, African Portuguese-speaking countries, NATO, European Union);
  • the economic dimension of regional integration;
  • the issue of free movement of goods and people and the role of Cape Verde in the security of the West Coast and the southern limits of the European Union.
For more information on the debates please refer to the list of publications.

José Brito, Cape Verde Minister of the Economy, Growth and Competitiveness, closed the two-day seminar.

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC), which supported this regional project, was also taking part in the seminar.

For more information:
  • Boubacar Barry, MOST project coordinator on “Nation-states and the challenges of regional integration in West Africa” – bbarry@orange.sn
  • Iva Cabral, MOST Programme national coordinator in Cape Verde – cabraliva@hotmail.com
  • Carrie Marias, Regional Adviser for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO Office in Dakar – c.marias@unesco.org

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