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with Third World Thematics

Abstract Deadline: 20 January 2020

Critical Perspectives on Africa's Regional Integration

Ongoing efforts to integrate Africa economically by creating the African Economic Community (AEC), in particular the March 2018 launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), have raised critical questions about the continent’s overall integration strategy. Even though integration in Africa has had a long history, the key assumptions behind the integration effort still largely lack a critical examination. Various scholars have expressed the view, for example, that Africa’s integration is based largely on a Eurocentric model (Adenkule Amuwo, 2009; Teodor Moga, 2009; Fredrik Soderbaum, 2013).

Indeed, dominant integration theories (David Mitrany’s functionalism; Earnest Hass’ neo-functionalism and Stanley Hoffman’s inter-governmentalism) developed in tandem with the integration of Europe. The interrogation of such viewpoints has lacked consistency in the literature especially from the point of view of African scholars. As a cursory internet search would reveal, a lot of effort is currently being spent projecting the economic potential of integration, and particularly the AfCFTA, an approach that seems to be favoured by, among others, the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

In view of this journey, interrogating the more foundational philosophical, theoretical and historical, among other, questions, is important in guiding the theory and practice of integration in Africa, creating a strong foundation for integration and helping to navigate the challenges that have faced integration efforts elsewhere in the world. Lessons, such as those posed by Brexit, important as they are, are bound to be lost in the wave of optimism that a less-critical emphasis on economic projections creates.

In respect to the above perspectives, this special issue avails an opportunity for an interdisciplinary assessment of the subject matter of regional integration in Africa. It poses critical foundational questions such as:

  • What philosophical assumptions inform regional integration in Africa?
  • Is there a unique theorization that informs Africa’s integration?
  • What lessons can be learnt from the long history of integration in Africa? How can these lessons inform the ongoing integration efforts?
  • As the pillars of the African Economic Community (AEC), how have Regional Economic Communities (RECs) performed at the sub-regional level and what lessons do they provide for AEC?
  • Is there a place for non-state actors in the integration process? Through what theoretical lenses should this be examined?
  • What roles have external actors played in Africa’s integration?
  • What are the possibilities of African states confederating as envisaged by Agenda 2063 among other documents?
  • What lessons can Africa learn from integration in other regions of the world? How can these lessons inform the ongoing integration efforts?

Guest Editors

Maria Nzomo, Director, Institute for Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS)

Patrick Maluki, Senior Lecturer, Institute for Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS)

Morris Odhiambo, Institute for Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS)

Submission Instructions

Potential contributors should forward their 300-word abstracts to [email protected] by 20th January 2020. Those to be included will be notified on 20th February 2020 while full papers will be due on 20th April 2020. Final papers published in the special issue will be subjected to the journals peer review process.

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