Role Of Civil Society Organization In Promoting Regional Integration In Africa: A Case Study Of East African Community
This study has focused on the role of Civil Society Organizations in regional integration processes. In a particular the research focuses on the East Africa Community (EAC) Framework as a case study. This research was prompted by the fact that according to the revised treaty that re-established the EAC in the year 1999 noted that one of the reasons that led to the collapse of the previous East Africa Community in 1997 was as result of lack of participation of Civil Society Organization and other non-state actors in the integration process. Therefore the study seeks to examine the participatory framework that exists within the current EAC and how they have facilitated the role of CSOs integration process. The study uses the theoretical framework of neo-functionalism which emphasizes that apart from the States, Non-State Actors in this case CSOs have an important role in the integration process. This theory therefore explains the current involvement of CSOs in regional organizations frameworks. From the Study it was evident that EAC had established some kind of institutional framework to enhance CSOs participation in the affairs of the community. However participation was limited to lower organs of EAC as major decisions are made by top leaders and their experts in their formal meetings. The findings further revealed that effective participation of CSOs in the integration process was being hampered by structural and institutional weaknesses that exist within EAC framework and also within the CSOs.