TRADE OPENNESS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN SELECTED ECOWAS MEMBER COUNTRIES (1975-2004)
As common as globalization, its conceptualization is difficult to capture, this is because of its trans-disciplinary nature. Concentrating on the economic viewpoint, the study examined the impact of trade openness (which involve the process that promotes the integration of interdependence among nations by reducing barriers to trade, migration, capital flow and technology transfer) on economic growth of selected ECOWAS member countries hinging on outward growth orientedness. Analyzing the secondary data sourced from IFS and Polity IV descriptively and with OLS multiple regression method (after ascertaining the order of variables stationarity) the following findings were made: (1) Average Ivorian lives better than his/her counterparts in other countries in the region. (2) Few Member States especially Burkina Faso had not considerably opened her economy.
(3) Trade openness was statistically significant and impacted positively on the economies of Nigeria and Ghana but a different story holds for others. (4) Evidence from the study also shows that prevailing socio-political situation in the region was counter productive except in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. (5) Government spending had not yielded sufficient returns in economic growth process of Members especially in Nigeria and Mali. It was recommended, among others, that Member States should follow the current trend of trade openness but efforts should be made to process their primary products to at least intermediate stage and also the importation of consumer goods should be reduced. This means that appropriate trade policy within the region can help in maximizing the opportunities that are latent in trade openness. It was equally emphasized that viable private sector activities and harmonious socio-political climate are crucial for economic growth.