An evaluation of 25 years of regional cooperation and integration in Africa: with specific reference to the SADC
Regional Integration amongst the countries of Southern Africa is experiencing a fundamental realignment in the post- apartheid era. In the early 1980's the Southern African countries were heavily dependent on countries throughout the world, economically and politically. They could not influence the world events due to heavy reliance on imports for their needs and could not process most of their raw materials to finished goods. Most of all, the entire region was heavily dependent on apartheid South Africa for the market of their goods, export of labour and food imports. All the regional independent countries were undeveloped, poor with low literacy rates. In the 25 years of its existence, SADC has made tremendous achievements in a number of areas of regional cooperation and integration notably, in the areas of governance, democracy, peace and security; infrastructure and services; trade, indust1y, finance and investment; food, agriculture and natural resources; and social and human development. Notwithstanding these achievements, our region still has a long way to go in order to emerge as an effective and competitive player in international relations and world markets. The SADC major Achievements and Challenges is a one of its kind publication which not only showcases SADC's achievements during the past 25 years but elaborates on its roots as well as its challenges and way forward at this momentous stage of its being. This study evaluates 25 years of regional integration and cooperation. It is composed of 5 chapters. The first Chapter- Introduction- is the backdrop explaining what SADC is about as well as emphasizing the potential of the region. In Chapter two- Regional integration in Southern Africa- the concept of regional integration in SADC and the costs/ benefits of regional integration in general. Chapter three- The Achievements of SADC - is the core of the research. It provides an overview of the major achievements of SADC during the past 25 years and includes the main intervention areas of the Directorates under the RISDP. The Chapter covers the important aspects of the heart of regional integration and ends with the cooperation between SADC and the International Cooperating Partners. Chapter four- Challenges - elaborates the key economic, social, and political challenges as well as some institutional and integration challenges. It also explains how the RISDP and SIPO respond to these challenges. Lastly, Chapter five, Summary, findings, conclusion and recommendations that highlights priority areas for action by SADC in order to achieve its vision. This research analyses the principal factors, both international and regional. The factors identified are analysed in relation to Southern Africa's most important political arrangement. Given the multiplicity of regional institutions, particular attention is given to an analysis ofthe relevance of the 'variable geometry' and multi- speed' approaches to integration. It is argued that the existing political infrastructure supporting regional integration has the potential to promote rivalry between the various regional arrangements, and ultimately, their member states.
- Humanities