South Africa and the Logic of Regional Cooperation

By Pfister, Roger | African Studies Review, April 2007 | Go to article overview

South Africa and the Logic of Regional Cooperation


Pfister, Roger, African Studies Review


James J. Hentz. South Africa and the Logic of Regional Cooperation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005. xii + 276 pp. Map. Tables. Photographs. Figures. Bibliography. Index. $65.00. Cloth. $24.95. Paper.

As part of its foreign relations, the interaction between South Africa and its neighborhood has been the subject of much scrutiny since the end of apartheid. Extensive literature has been produced on the Republic's economic and politico-military relations, focusing on their merits and their future development. In his book, Hentz concentrates on the economic aspects of regional cooperation. Now a professor of international studies at the Virginia Military Institute, he laid the basis for the study under review with the research he conducted for his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. The pros and cons of South Africa's relationship with its neighbors in the economic domain are not debated in the book. Rather-and this is his main contribution-he takes a step back and "focuses on how and why power brokers in transitional South Africa decided which form of regional economic cooperation to pursue" (17).

The book covers the period from 1990 to 1999 and examines the evolution of the related debate in South Africa, clustering the positions around three concepts: developmental, market integration/cooperation, and ad hoc cooperation. Hentz concentrates on the domestic arena, but also takes into account the influences emanating from the international political economy, which, according to him, "created a powerful undercurrent" (139) in favor of market integration/cooperation. He initially presents a succinct background review of South Africa's approach to Southern Africa from 1948 to 1999, and then examines the main groupings engaged in the domestic debate, their interests and positions, and how these affected Pretoria's regional policy. …

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