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West Africa’s Development, the West African Diaspora, and Preparation for Future Pandemics: The Need for an ECOWAS University System

DOI: 10.4236/sm.2024.141005, PP. 69-94

Keywords: ECOWAS University System, Pandemics, Natural Resources, African Diaspora, Wealth Accumulation, West African Immigrants, Remittances, Health, Educational Attainment, GDP

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Abstract:

This paper examines future pandemics in West Africa, the region’s development, the role of the West African diaspora, especially in the United States, and the need to establish an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) University System. West African countries were not as seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of infections and deaths. With an area of 6.144 sq. km (62% of the area of the United States), it is endowed with important natural resources, including, gold, diamonds, oil, natural gas, fish, uranium, timber, phosphates, bauxite, iron ore, arable land, coal, rubber, and hydropower. It has one of the fastest-rising and youngest populations in the world, increasing from 261 million in 2006 to 442 million in 2023. West Africa has made significant economic and social progress in the past two decades. Its infant mortality rate declined from 86.40 deaths per 1000 of the population in 2006 to 48.7 deaths per 1000 in 2020. Its death rate declined from 14.47 deaths per 1000 of its population in 2005 to 7.9 deaths per 1000 in 2020. Its GDP increased from $377.84 billion in 2005 to $1.714 trillion in 2021. West African immigrants in the United States, in addition to Black Americans of West African descent, are a big portion of the 50.1 million population, with a net worth of $6.21 trillion as of December 31, 2022. They have contributed substantially to the economic and social progress in West Africa. The spending power of Black Americans by 2020 was $1.6 trillion. By December 31, 2022, there were 5.547 million Black Americans aged 18 and over with at least a bachelor’s degree, and 442,000 with doctoral degrees. In 2019, West Africans accounted for 926,000 (44.2%) of the 2,094,000 African immigrants in the United

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