3. Adebayo Adedeji: Africa’s Foremost Prophet of Regional Integration

Author: Professor Adekeye Adebajo
Book Title: The Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy (Oloruntoba and Falola (eds.)
Publisher and Date: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

This chapter makes a claim for the importance of individuals in promoting the implementation of economic ideas through institutions. While the focus is on the ideas that were promoted, I argue that the intellect, character, experiences, and personality of individuals often shape institutions, which can consequently be used to disseminate these ideas to the practical realm of policy. I focus on the impact of the ideas of Nigeria’s Adebayo Adedeji on the United Nations (UN) Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) between 1975 and 1991. Adedeji died in Lagos on 25 April 2018, with his funeral in Ijebu-Ode being attended by two former Nigerian heads of state—generals Yakubu Gowon and Olusegun Obasanjo; the president of Namibia, Hage Geingob; and the former president of Liberia, Amos Sawyer.