Abstract for: Using model to identify and meet potential challenges in regional development: The ECOWAS T21 case

The ECOWAS region (Economic Community of West African States) has big potential, but it faces major challenges in its development. To help support the decision making of regional and national leaders and bring a wide variety of stakeholders from all member states into policy debates, the ECOWAS T21 model was developed. The initial focus of the model was to test the consequences of regional integration of 1) free movement of people and commodities; 2) integrated energy, transport, and telecommunication infrastructures; and 3) creating a monetary union. When building and calibrating the model, another challenge was identified: fast population growth would make it difficult to improve the well being of the people in the region, even with successful implementation of regional integration. As a result, a family planning scenario was added. Results from the model show that a combination of regional integration and family planning policies generates the best results: smaller population, longer life expectancy, higher GDP, much higher per capita GDP, higher total government revenues, a lower poverty rate, a lower unemployment rate, more forest land, and higher per capita cereal production. However, any good policy could have its costs, such as higher oil demand and lower oil exports in this case.