New dimensions in regional economic co-operation and integration in Southern Africa.
In the last three decades regional economic co-operation and integration attracted a
great deal of interest in Southern Africa, as elsewhere in the Third World. Early
attempts at regional integration in Southern Africa were generally characterised by poor
and disappointing performance. Recent changes at both regional and international
contexts suggest the need to rethink regional integration as part of an overall economic
development strategy and as means to attain further political and security stability.
This thesis examines the theory and practice of regional integration in developing
countries during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Particular focus is directed at the
theoretical and practical implications of different integration approaches for Southern
Africa, as well as at the rationale for the revival of this development strategy in the
1990s. Integration schemes of various conceptual natures did not fulfil the expectations
included either in the theoretical postulates or in the formal treaties.
However, macroeconomic reforms centred in SAPs and their international development
context as well as the post-apartheid regional context add new dimensions to regional
co-operation and integration for development in the SAR. Among other things they
imply a change in the emphasis from inward-looking to outward-looking integration
strategies. By yielding the need for reconciling trade liberalisation and RECI this new
dimension in integration poses a new challenge to both the contemporary integration
approaches and the respective policy implications. Further research is required to
determine the optimality of an "adjusted" integration approach, combining elements of
the above perspectives.