Lesson 9, Topic 1
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Mano River Union (MRU)

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History of the Mano River Union (MRU)

The Mano River Union (MRU) is the first attempt to forge economic cooperation in Anglophone West Africa. This union came into existence on 3rd October 1973 as a result of the Mano River Declaration signed between Liberia and Sierra Leona in Malema, Sierra Leona. The three countries that make up the organization are knitted by culture, geography, and history. On 25th October 1980, Guinea was admitted into the organization bringing its membership to three.

Objectives of of the Mano River Union (MRU)

The objectives are;

1. To establish a customs union among member states.

2. To liberalise trade among members of MRU

3. To pursue any other objective that will be of benefit to the organization.

4. To promote political and economic cooperation including regional security.

Achievements of the Mano River Union (MRU)

In spite of the problems, Mano River Union, recorded some major achievements; Some of these are;

1. Training and manpower development: The Union was involved in the implementation of a cooperation programme in the education and training of middle-level manpower and medical doctors through the scholarship and fellowship programme of the union.

2. Infrastructural development: The organization was involved in infrastructural development especially the construction of the Mano River Union bridge and other Road networks.

3. Common external tariff: The organization also adopted a common external tariff, trade liberalization as well as the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

The Problem of the Mano River Union (MRU)

The following are some of the challenges of the organization;

1. Low Level of Trade: The three countries produce similar exportable products and this has made it difficult to develop and foster regional trade.

2. Use of Different Currencies: The states involved use different currencies which has adversely affected the trading relationships.

3. Diversity in Language: Different languages spoken among the members of this union greatly hindered the promotion of trade.

4. Inadequately of funds: The challenge of finding funds for the several projects that have been earmarked upon for development. Since they are poor nations, they rely on donations which may take long to actualize.

5. Political instability: The civil war in Liberia has no doubt wreaked havoc on the ability of the union to achieve its aims. The war caused a strain in the cordial relationship between the two main partners in the union that is Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Evaluation Questions

  1. What is the full meaning of MRU
  2. Trace the history of MRU
  3. Mention three achievements of MRU
  4. State two major problems of MRU
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