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Sub-regionalism in the African Union: Does it enhance regional integration?
International Journal of African Development (2016)
  • Sandra Ochieng'-Springer, Dr, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus
The African continent renewed its commitment to regional integration in the post-1990s period in keeping with the global changes at the time. As part of this revitalization, the Organisation of African Union was transformed to the African Union which has broader aims, and sub-regionalism was also embraced with the establishment of regional economic communities that act as stepping stones to greater regional integration. Both continental and sub-regional efforts have placed emphasis on economic integration with states as key players in the integration projects. The relationship between these two groupings is complex as the AU, which is meant to coordinate the activities of sub-regions, has little authority over the overlapping sub-regions. The sub-regions have seen some progress not only in economic cooperation related areas, but also in their ability to develop some areas of functional cooperation. However, these gains have not translated at the continental level. This paper argues that a regional integration agenda, largely centered on economic integration, has not ushered in the expected results and makes a case for functional integration as a distinct goal for regional integration. This is a more balanced approach that allows countries to share in non-economic benefits by belonging to a regional grouping.
  • African Union,
  • Regional Integration,
  • Functional Cooperation,
  • Economic Cooperation
Publication Date
Fall June, 2016
Citation Information
Sandra Ochieng'-Springer. "Sub-regionalism in the African Union: Does it enhance regional integration?" International Journal of African Development Vol. 4 Iss. 1 (2016) p. 41 - 54
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