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Political Economy of Regional Integration in Africa: What drives and constrains regional organisations?

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Dr. Bruce Byiers, ECDPM
GIZ Bad Neuenahr, 5 September 2016

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Political Economy of Regional Integration in Africa: What drives and constrains regional organisations?

  1. 1. 1 GIZ Bad Neuenahr, 5 September 2016 POLITICAL ECONOMY OF REGIONAL INTEGRATION IN AFRICA What drives and constrains regional organisations?
  2. 2. Regional integration - a “universal” challenge “lack of staff”, “lack of powers to enforce decisions”, and “dreadfully slow decision- making procedure” meant the treaty was “not being applied “When it comes to elevating form over substance, and confusing a proliferation of meetings and acronyms for a deepening of ties, [this regional organisation] is the master” 3
  3. 3. Regional integration - a “universal” challenge “lack of staff”, “lack of powers to enforce decisions”, and “dreadfully slow decision- making procedure” meant the treaty was “not being applied The Economist on European integration, 1982 “When it comes to elevating form over substance, and confusing a proliferation of meetings and acronyms for a deepening of ties, [this regional organisation] is the master” The Economist on ASEAN, 3 Sept. 2016 4
  4. 4. The ‘what’... “What are the key drivers & constraints of regional organisations in promoting regional integration and cooperation in Africa” - Actors and factors shaping agendas and implementation - Produce “relevant knowledge” for donors AND other policy-makers - Iterative process: analyse, review, discuss, adapt, focus, analyse... 5
  5. 5. How?... 5 lenses Foundational & structural factors Institutions - formal & informal rules of the game Actors and agency - power and interests Sectoral characteristics External factors - financial and other 7 Examine the interaction of political & economic processes & incentives...
  6. 6. 8 PEA of regional approaches to... AU COMESA EAC ECOWAS IGAD SADC 1. Peace & Security 2. Food Security 3. Gender 4. Conservation 5.Climate 6. Transport & Infrastructure 7. Energy 8. Trade 9. Industrialisation
  7. 7. 10 Key observations - drivers & constraints… 1. Foundational & structural factors... “continue to shape the environment in which African regional organisations set and implement their agendas.” • COMESA - 8/19 landlocked; 4/19 islands, dispersed • ECOWAS - franco-anglo colonial and linguistic heritage - P&S divisions • IGAD - common physical challenges vs long-run conflicts • EAC - landlocked Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi - ‘coalition of the willing’ 9
  8. 8. 10 Key observations 2. Institutions & mimicry... “While regional organisations adopt the institutional forms to foster regional cooperation or integration, these do not always serve the stated functions.” • AU - results based management • Most RECs - FTAs and CUs not functioning as should - no cost to non-implementation • ECOWAS governance, P&S protocols • IGAD - extraordinary summits only • SADC – TFCAs - bottom up function to form, SADC a follower... • COMESA - RISM - somwhat aligned to encourage enforcement? 10
  9. 9. 10 Key observations 11 Actors 3. Member state signalling: Member states may signal their support for regional organisations even when implementation is not a political priority. • All RECs - gender policies & units; • COMESA FTA, CU • ECOWAS Protocols on governance etc? 4. National interests - Implementation of regional cooperation and integration takes place when in line with key ‘national interests’ as defined by ruling elites. • Overlapping memberships - e.g. engagement EAC vs COMESA vs IGAD • SADC - South Africa and regional industrialisation policy, SAPP • EAC, SAPP, smaller groups => more easily aligned interests • IGAD - peace mediation vs FTA • ECOWAS - P&S and rice in Burkina Faso
  10. 10. 10 Key observations Actors 5. Regional hegemons are able to influence regional agendas and their implementation. • Ethiopia in EAPP, IGAD • Nigeria in ECOWAS P&S - CdI 6. Individuals Individual personalities and quality of leadership within regional organisations, tend to shape - and can be decisive for - the functioning of the organisation. • HoS have decision power across RECs • SAPP – technical • SADC TFCA - political 12
  11. 11. 10 Key observations 13 7. Private & CS Actors - The diversity of private sector and civil society interests affects how business & CSOs engage with national governments and ROs on regional processes. • Peace Parks Foundation - PS to SADC prog. • SADC Gender Protocol Alliance • ECOWAS rice - Burkina Faso, aligned interests • PIDA – (late) private sector engagement 8. Sectoral factors - The interests and incentives related to different sector or policy areas differ markedly according to the nature and characteristics of the sector • P&S - problem-solving: lowering -’ve externalities (IGAD, ECOWAS) • Trade, energy, gender - aspirations - at +’ve externalities harder! • ECOWAS - Rice vs livestock
  12. 12. 10 Key observations 14 External factors 9. Donors: Of all external factors, the quality and volume of donor support have the greatest influence on the agendas and implementation by regional organisations most. • All heavily dependent on donors - ECOWAS partial exception • +’ve - e.g. AU & other peace operations; • Rising quality but low coordination, fragmented, uncertainty • Conditions/targeting risk from supporting to driving • Agenda inflation & signalling e.g. EAC social sectors • COMESA RISM - partial success, donor discontent… 10. Critical junctures such as natural disasters and major political events/crises can trigger progress but also block regional organisations and dynamics. • SAPP - 1992 - drought, post-apartheid • ECOWAS - 2008 food crisis
  13. 13. What now? A, B, C... Ambitions - - be clear on aspirations vs problem-solving; - be clear on the VA of a regional approach? (and to whom!) - aim for function, manageable groups, - with realistic measures of what is feasible over the medium to long-term success - given path dependency and political traction Brokerage - - link the regional and national levels for key countries; - engage and facilitate public-private-CSO demand for regional processes - based on identified interests and coalitions Champions - - identify and support champion countries/individuals, coalitions - at the political and technical levels, - in regional and national organisations, - in public, private sectors & civil society 15
  14. 14. Options? Even once you decide on policy objectives, what margins of manouvre are there? Alter? Very hard for FFs. Tip the balance? Boost demand? Compensate? Change own incentives? Adapt? Tricky! Function not form? Follow interests? Build on informal? Individuals? Iterative adaptation? Within/between MS traction? Avoid? Maybe easier, by-passing for same outcome? Build on Sub- regional groupings? Political legitimacy? Await? Can you wait? Long-term thinking & preparing? 16
  15. 15. The ‘WHAT NOW?’ “Plan for sailboats, not trains” (Kleinfeld, 2015) 17
  16. 16. 18 Thank you for your attention bby@ecdpm.org @brucebyiers

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