Books and Media
The state of the world
Regional integration in Africa: mainly a good idea so far
Poverty reduction a cross-sectoral task
One thousand years of the world economy
[ Gap between rhetoric and reality ]
Regional integration in Africa:
Dirk Hansohm et al. (Ed.): Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa Yearbook, Volume 1, 2001. Windhoek, Gamsberg Macmillan Publishers 2002, 129 pp., 39.50 Namibian dollar, ISBN 99916-0-343-3
mainly a good idea so far
Since the beginning of the 1990s it can be seen that regional cooperation in Africa South of the Sahara is being revived or established. Three important alliances are the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the East African Co-operation (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Stefan Mair and Christian Peters-Berries have compared these three economic communities with each other on behalf of the German Development Ministry (BMZ). They ask first of all about the motivation for the efforts to get regional cooperation underway again. Their answer: the economic cooperation aspired to is Africa's answer to the challenges of globalisation, an attempt to strengthen its marginal position in the world economy. Cooperation with the neighbours is Africa's only way to counteract its increasing uncoupling from the North.
That is a good idea, but the Africans are having a hard time in implementing it. An important reason for that, the authors say, is the many neo-patrimonial ruling systems in Africa. Whoever wishes to create supranational organisations must sacrifice national sovereignty, and hardly an African state ruler is really prepared to do that. For the transfer of resources and power of decision to a supranational institution means a dissolving of the mass of patronage with which they can buy loyalty. Hence the well-known pattern: in rhetorical speeches, regional integration is conjured up and sometimes a monetary union is quickly decided upon as the goal. But in practice business is got down to in a much more restrained way.
Assessing this gap between political rhetoric and empirical reality is the aim of the new yearbook Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa, published by the Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Over the next few years the academics working in Germany and Southern Africa who provide the articles will take a close look at the development of the SADC. The first volume's summing up is diplomatically restrained. It says integration in Southern Africa is not advancing as quickly as many had hoped, but what has been achieved so far is exactly what, taking a realistic view, could have been expected. In other words, a little cooperation is better than none at all.
Stefan Mair, Christian Peters-Berries: Regionale Integration und Kooperation in Afrika südlich der Sahara. EAC, ECOWAS und SADC im Vergleich [Regional integration and cooperation in Africa South of the Sahara. A comparison of EAC, ECOWAS and SADC]. Munich, Weltforum Verlag 2001, 448 pp., Euro 23.60, ISBN 3-8039-0498-6 (Forschungsberichte des BMZ, Band 127) [BMZ Research Reports, Vol. 127].