Dynamics of Regional (non-) integration in Eastern Africa

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UNU Insitute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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UNU-CRIS Working Papers
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The African continent has witnessed since the nineties a rebirth of regional arrangements aiming at furthering the integration of Africa. However the process of regional integration has faced a great variety of obstacles. Studying the processes of integration in Eastern Africa allows us to take a more in depth look at the various dynamics favouring or disfavouring regional integration in Africa. This paper first takes a look at the reality on the ground and how there is in fact an active regionalisation process going on at multiple levels of governance. We then turn to the more formal efforts currently underway in Eastern Africa looking first at the attempts for economic or trade integration, then at regional organisations tackling the issue of peace and security. The technical organisations responsible for regional cooperation on specific development related issues are also briefly explored. This permits us to analyse the obstacles affecting regional integration in Eastern Africa. Two types of explanations are considered: structural impediments and policy or governance related impediments. The identification of these obstacles allows us to conclude with findings that may be useful in terms of future policy making so as to favour a deeper regional integration in Africa.