Re-appraising the framework for regional economic integration in Africa
The European Union is a product of regionaleconomic integration. Today, there aretwenty five countries that make up the European Union. The integration is an alliance of sovereign states, which are discrete political units. Can this European example be imitated and replicated in Africa. Could not the techniques of international and supranational cooperation developed in Luxembourg, Paris and Brussels and Maastricht, not be developed in Pretoria, Nairobi, Harare or Lusaka? The process, which yielded European integration, exists at a lower scale in Africa. This means that Africa, with diverse background factors is unlikely to successfully imitate the European example. It is not however clear that slightly different background cannot result to integration. The history of integration testifies that few integrations are created by aggregation of previously independent units, except under the influence of some external and powerful force. For Africa to expect a prospect of an eventual customs union, unless there is sufficient will on the part of the leaders and the people, this goal cannot be achieved. The creation of a union requires a process of education and bargaining and even compromise both between the would be union members and as well as between groups within each state.
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