10 December 2013

Africa: New Publication Series - the Political Economy of Regional Integration in Africa


In 2012, SAIIA and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) partnered to conduct political economic analysis on regional integration in Southern Africa. The objective of the partnership has been

To enhance EU-South African cooperation and understanding;

To deconstruct the regional integration dynamics in Southern Africa;

To provide an analysis of the role of various stakeholders and drivers in the regional integration processes; and

To facilitate dialogue opportunities.

A scoping workshop in November 2012 brought together a small group of policy analysts, officials, private sector actors and researchers from the region in order to frame a research agenda.

One of the outcomes of the scoping workshop has been the petition to focus on the practical integration aspects, rather than on the formal, ambitious and 'declared' regional policy agenda.

This is the origins of the repository of short cases where regional cooperation in Southern Africa has worked well, or where new thinking is underway.

This allows a better understanding of what and who can drive concrete regional cooperation.

The cases will be bundled under three headings:

The role of private sector in public-private cooperation towards regional cooperation;

Governance of regional public goods, with cases on energy, water, wildlife and forestry;

The complexities of infrastructure planning being an essential element of fostering intra-regional trade and cooperation

THEME 1: Political Economy of Regional Integration in Southern Africa Series:The Regional Integration of Public Goods

by Talitha Bertelsmann - Scott

The trend in monitoring and evaluating progress in regional integration has been towards measuring success or failure on an exclusive trade integration framework.

Analysts use the classic Barassa model of integration, where a regional organisation moves from a preferential trade agreement, to a free trade agreement, customs union, single market, and, ultimately, to a political union.

However, this approach neglects to examine other processes that are not linked to trade integration, which could be moving ahead and integrating a region, while the trade agenda could be standing still.

There is a perception in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that progress towards achieving a full implementation of the free trade area has been very slow; and frustrations abound regarding the integration agenda.

However, prior to the creation of SADC, its predecessor, the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) - which strove to foster independence from South Africa - was considered successful in achieving integration in areas such as water, health and power.

Download: Political Economy of Regional Integration in Southern Africa Series:The Regional Integration of Public Goods (271.99 kB)

PERISA Case Study 1 Public Goods: Water Resource Management and Development in SADC (323.23 kB)

PERISA Case Study 2 Public Goods: Governing Southern Africa's Forests - The Case of REDD+ (396.21 kB)

PERISA Case Study 3 Public Goods: The Impact of Transfrontier Conservation Areas on Regional Integration (315.96 kB)

PERISA Case Study 4 Public Goods: Building a Regional Electricity Market: SAPP Challenges (333.42 kB)

THEME 2: Political Economy of Regional Integration in Southern Africa Series: The Private Sector as a Driver of Regional Integration

by Talitha Bertelsmann - Scott

The Political Economy of Regional Integration in Southern Africa (PERISA) project generally asks the research question: 'Who drives or drove this particular process or outcome?'.

This theme, however, seeks to reverse the question to: 'If the private sector drives a process, what is the outcome for regional integration?'.

The general consensus among development and poverty alleviation thinkers is that a robust private sector is necessary for effective and continued growth in developing countries.

Public actors can stimulate some private-sector growth, but for sustained growth, which delivers on more equal income distribution, the private sector needs to grow in strength and independence equal to the public sector.

Support programmes for private sector development in Southern Africa are legion and are especially supported by the EU, which is the region's largest donor.

The PERISA project recognises the role played by external actors in the promotion of privatesector development and their involvement in regional initiatives.

Download: Political Economy of Regional Integration in Southern Africa Series: The Private Sector as a Driver of Regional Integration (283.95 kB)

PERISA Case Study 1 Private Sector: The Non-Tariff Barrier Monitoring Mechanism (330.74 kB)

PERISA Case Study 2 Private Sector: SADC Payment Integration System (335.94 kB)

PERISA Case Study 3 Private Sector: The Southern African Sugar Sector (325.59 kB)

PERISA Case Study 4 Private Sector: Regional Co-operation in the Telecommunications Sector via CRASA (434.63 kB)

Copyright © 2013 South African Institute of International Affairs. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.