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Nigerian Journal of Economic History

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The West African currency board and economic integration of British West Africa

Dan O. Chukwu

Abstract


The paper is an examination of the role of the West African Currency Board (WACB) as an economic integration effort in British West Africa. Through a collaborative effort between this public institution and a private company, the Bank of British West Africa, British West African colonies were not only unified but also the way was paved for their incorporation into the capitalist economy of the West. While in theory the board (based in London) was a currency issuer, the bank (operating in West Africa) was made a circulator of the currency. Also, the bank was appointed the economic manager for the board. In the paper, issues regarding the functions, powers and operations of the board are attended to. It is the contention of the paper that although the colonial authorities would have used coercive instruments to make the board and the bank succeed in their operations, independent West African States, operating on the platform of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) may as well do better, if they should demonstrate some level of resilience.




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