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Title: The World Trade Organisation and food insecurity in the south : prospects for the ECOWAS sub-region
Author: Ichimi, Godwin S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 8573
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis focuses on the topic ‘The World Trade Organisation and Food Insecurity in the South: Prospects for the ECOWAS sub-region'. It is cast against the background of the prevailing global food crisis which is generally accepted as having assumed monumental dimensions in sub-Saharan Africa where a total of over 150 million people are said to be under the direct threat of hunger and starvation. The study appraises the mainstream understanding of the root causes of the on-going food crisis, the policies prescribed for their resolution as well as the efficacy of the neo-liberal multilateral institutional frameworks from within which these are currently being deployed. The global and regional multilateral institutions of reference here are the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) respectively. The study contends that the hegemonic narrative is severely limited; that the perspective which drives it suffers from some highly virulent blind-spots on the critical questions of history and the structural notions of power – notions which go to the very heart of the contemporary structuring of the global food system, and which, in the case of West Africa, is assuring the privileged access of some classes to food and food-producing resources whilst excluding the bulk of the class of the majority. Consequently, from a macro-historical qualitative perspective, the study develops and deploys an alternative conceptual framework from within which it appraises the regional agricultural and related trade policies of the member states of the ECOWAS which were developed in response to the neoliberal regimes of the WTO. With the reality of third world structural dependency as a point of departure, and situating this within the theoretical framework of Robert W. Cox and the tenets of Dependency theory, the study poses the question of whether and/or how, in the specific instance of West Africa, the framing of the region’s food and agricultural policies, couched as they have been in conformity to the broader context of the regimes of the WTO, has resulted in the aggravation of insecurity in food production and consumption. Pursuant to investigating this question, the study finds that as adherence by the member states of the ECOWAS to the rules of the WTO Agreements in particular and the dictates of neoliberal economic agenda in general intensifies, regional food and agricultural development strategies of the region have invariably proven incapable of overcoming the logic of structural capitalist dependency. Rather, as the ECOWAP achieves coincidence with the regimes of the WTO, those exact material conditions that stymie the prospects for structural transformation of the agrarian economy in the West African sub-region are being reinforced. The exacerbation of the associated problems of agricultural productivity decline, as well as the concomitant loss of household and national incomes is effectively putting even the food that is available both in the local and international markets well beyond the reach of the bulk of the poverty stricken majority of the people of Western Africa.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Food security ; World Trade Organization ; Economic Community of West African States