CHRISTOPHER CHANGWE NSHIMBI, RITSUMEIKAN ASIA PACIFIC UNIVERSITY, JAPAN
Regional Integration is synonymous with globalization in as far both allude to processes that increase the connectivity of markets and businesses via the mobility of goods, services, labor, technology and capital. With increasing globalization and regionalization there is a possibility that some states may not actively participate in the international political economy and therefore not benefit from the new economic global order. Developing countries are most susceptible to this threat and in order to avoid the pitfalls of marginalization are, therefore, responding to this challenge through regional integration. There is indeed a renewed commitment to regionalization in developing countries. This paper explores the prospects of regionalization in Africa where the phenomenon has culminated in the formation of the New Partnership for Economic Development (NEPAD), Africa’s version of the Marshal Plan and the conversion of the Organization of African Unity into the African Union. The paper argues that much as regionalization may be a correct strategy to help Africa develop competencies for effective participation in the global political economy, a number of factors hinder the success of integrative processes on the continent. Chief among these are the civil conflicts that rock individual states resulting in a lack of peace and security, the lack of hegemonies willing to lead regionalism, and the inability of states here and the regional schemes thereof to withstand the pressures of policy recommendations from International Financial Institutions as well as pressures from citizens and civil society.
Keywords: African Union; Regional Integration/Regionalization; Globalization; International Financial Institutions; Sub Sahara Africa; Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa; Zambia.