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Institution Building for African Regionalism


  • Khadiagala, Gilbert M.

    () (Department of International Relations)


Since the 1960s, African states have embraced regional integration as a vital mechanism for political cooperation and for pooling resources to overcome problems of small and fragmented economies. In building meaningful institutions for regionalism, however, Africans have faced the challenges of reconciling the diversities of culture, geography, and politics. As a result, African regional institutions are characterized by multiple and competing mandates and weak institutionalization. This study illustrates these themes by comparing two continental institutions—the African Union and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and subregional institutions—the Economic Commission of Central African States, the Economic Community of West African States, the Common Market for East and Southern African States, the Community of the Sahel-Saharan States, and the Arab Maghreb Union. By focusing on the institutional structures, mandates, and contributions of these organizations in their geographical domains, the study probes the links between policy articulation and outcomes. The conclusion focuses on lessons that African regionalism can inform Asian integration experiences.

Suggested Citation

  • Khadiagala, Gilbert M., 2011. "Institution Building for African Regionalism," Working Papers on Regional Economic Integration 85, Asian Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbrei:0085

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yap, Josef T. & Majuca, Ruperto P. & Park, Cyn-Young, 2010. "The 2008 Financial Crisis and Potential Output in Asia: Impact and Policy Implications," Discussion Papers DP 2010-11, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
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    More about this item


    African Regionalism; Regional Integration; Africa; African Union; United Nation’s Economic Commission for Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements
    • N55 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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