Economic Integration and Third World Development

By Pradip K. Ghosh; Gamani Corea | Go to book overview

Regional Integration and Cooperation in Africa: A History of Disappointments?

ROLF J. LANGHAMMER

Integration and cooperation efforts in Subsaharian Africa are as numerous as their shortcoming and disappointments. In other words, no other developing region has so often applied the way of "trial and error" in integration and cooperation as Africa. This statement has a twofold historical background: Firstly, Africa took over the colonial heritage of political and economic "balkanization" by a lot of institutional arrangements in political and economic affairs. 1 Secondly, Africa furthermore inherited a "colonial" pattern of integration and cooperation schemes. In economic terms, this pattern mainly consisted of monetary and customs unions which were continued after gaining independence.


I. DEFINITION OF INTEGRATION

However, this continuation was simply a copy of integration schemes in developed countries (DCs) by means of interstate trade liberalization resulting in improved allocation of the domestic resources already employed.

There are plausible theoretical arguments in favour of the hypothesis that this copy did not fit into African conditions of negligible interstate interdependencies in the modern sectors, idle resources, natural barriers to communication, political divergences and especially considerable interstate differences in the level of industrial development. 2

Integration in the usual sense first of all means the elimination of interstate trade barriers. This can either be

____________________
From INTERECONOMICS, No. 9, 1977 (257-262), by permission of the publisher.

-203-

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