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Regional Integration

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  • November 2012
  • 5309 Words
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1.Regional Integrationcan be defined as a segment of the world bound together by a common set of objectives based on geographical, social, cultural, economic and political ties and possessing a formal structure provided for in formal intergovernmental agreements.1 Regional integration efforts have a long history in Africa dating back to pre-independence era. The inclination to unite was an initial response of Africa’s founding fathers to the balkanization process of the colonial era and the desire to overcome colonially imposed artificial boundaries.2 In recent times however, the need for sustainable economic development in the face of the harsh realities of globalization and trade liberalization has been the motive force driving regional integration in Africa. The increasing integration of African economies into the global economy and the unfavourable conditions of international trade has continuously ensured the deliberate transfer of wealth from African countries to developed countries. As long as this practice persists Africa will continue to be impoverished. In reaction to this and in view of the many benefits of integration, there arose a spontaneous tendency for economic cooperation and integration in Africa as a means of enhancing self reliance and reducing their individual and joint vulnerabilities. Consequently the initial motive for integration in Africa was mainly economic in nature. THEORIES AND PHASES OF INTEGRATION

2.Earlier integration theories developed out of political science theories of the functionalist and neo-functionalist frameworks and liberal economic theoretical framework. They basically focus on the characteristics and processes of regional economic organization itself and the concept of supra-national organization. They explained supra-national organization as a process in which national actors are persuaded to shift their...

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