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  • Author: Peter Draper
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Support for regional economic integration in Africa runs high amongst the continent's international development partners and African elites. However, its expression in European forms of economic integration is not appropriate to regional capacities and in some cases may do more harm than good. This lacuna is exacerbated by technical and theoretical analyses rooted either in economics or international relations literature. This article sets out to reconceptualise the foundations of African economic integration by reviewing key debates within each literature and comparing the results across disciplinary boundaries. Overall, it is concluded that a much more limited approach is required, one that prioritises trade facilitation and regulatory cooperation in areas related primarily to the conduct of business; underpinned by a security regime emphasizing the good governance agenda at the domestic level. Care should be taken to design the ensuing schemes in such a way as to avoid contributing to major implementation and capacity challenges in establishing viable and legitimate states. In doing so, the presence of regional leaders with relatively deep pockets - South Africa in the Southern African case - points to the imperative of building such limited regional economic arrangements around key states.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, South Africa
  • Author: Magnus Killander
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Despite the lofty objectives set out in the treaties of African intergovernmental organisations, such as the African Union, ECOWAS, SADC and the East African Community, legal harmonisation in Africa is still underdeveloped. Apart from a push towards harmonisation in the protection of human rights and the environment, mainly driven by a global agenda, some progress has been made with regard to legal harmonisation linked to economic integration at the sub-regional level. However, the process is slow and measures to ensure implementation of agreed norms at the national level and ensure consistent interpretation are still underdeveloped. This is illustrative of the lack of political will and the big gap between political rhetoric and reality on the African continent.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Maxi Schoeman
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The ambitions of the global South for a larger share of global wealth and political power are at least partly being played out on the African continent. The increasing Africa-South relations seem to indicate a relative decline in Africa-North ties, with the shift in Africa's trade relations from North to South resulting in trade creation rather than trade diversion. The South partners are also providing much needed infrastructure development assistance to the continent. Politically, these relations are formalised in a host of frameworks and associations and operate in fundamentally different ways from those between Africa and its erstwhile colonial masters. It is doubtful, though, to what extent Africa's capacity to influence the global agenda is strengthened, especially given that not a single African country is (yet) a member of the 'South Big Four', the BRICs.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Lorenzo Fioramonti, Patrick Kimunguyi
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Europe has been the privileged economic and political partner of Africa, but more recently China has increased its foothold in Africa through important financial investments and trade agreements. Against this backdrop, the empirical research conducted in 2007-08 in Kenya and South Africa as part of a pioneering international project investigates the perceptions of public opinion, political leaders, civil society activists and media operators. While confirming their continent's traditional proximity to Europe, African citizens are increasingly interested in China and its impact on Africa's development. Europe is criticised for not having been able to dismiss the traditionally 'patronising' attitude towards Africa. While African civil society leaders and media operators describe China as an opportunity for Africa to break free of its historical dependence on European markets, other opinion leaders warn against too much enthusiasm for the Asian giant. There is a suspicion that the Chinese strategy might, in the long run, turn into a new form of economic patronage.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, China, Europe, Asia, South Africa