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A Political Economy of African Regionalisms

An Overview of Asymmetrical Development Wil Hout and M.A. Mohamed Salih, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
This book analyses the main factors influencing the political economy of Africa’s asymmetrical regionalism, focusing on regional and sub-regional trade, investment, movement of people, goods and services. It pays particular attention to the way in which regional and sub-regional dynamics are impacted by extra-regional relations, such with the EU, US, China and India. Because African regionalism is influenced not only by economic processes, peace and security are also analysed as important factors shaping both regional and sub-regional relations and dynamics.

Extent: c 200 pp
Hardback Price: $110.00 Web: $99.00
Publication Date: 2019
ISBN: 978 1 78536 436 5
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Providing an assessment of regional frameworks in Africa, this timely book looks at how regional cooperation among countries in Africa has intensified over the last 30 years. The authors explore how unequal power relations and unequal levels of development among partner states influence these frameworks.

Analysing the main factors influencing the political economy of Africa’s asymmetrical regionalism, chapters focus on regional and sub-regional trade, investment, and the movement of people and services. Wil Hout and M.A. Mohamed Salih pay particular attention to the ways in which regional and sub-regional dynamics are impacted by extra-regional relations. Peace and security are also analysed as important factors shaping relations and dynamics, demonstrating that African regionalism is influenced by more than economic processes.

Political economy and development studies scholars will benefit from the data-rich analysis in the book. It will also be a valuable read for policy makers and advisors involved in regional cooperation in and with African regions.

'Hout and Salih have provided a tour d’horison of African regionalisms – a project that has dominated many of the discussions at continental and sub-regional level. As Africa enters a new chapter in its continental integration, the African Continental Free Trade Area, and as the AU aims to silence the guns, this academic work provides an essential analysis of the specificities and challenges of African regionalism and the multiple asymmetries that have come to define it and impact on its effectiveness. Critically, this analysis eschews a European-determined framework of regionalism. Hout and Salih have painted a holistic picture of the successes and weaknesses of the regional integration project, providing a pragmatic, yet not cynical perspective, of the road that still needs to be traversed.’
– Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, South African Institute of International Affairs, South Africa

‘This excellent book by Wil Hout and M.A. Mohamed Salih bridges the gap in African literature on regional integration and the asymmetric relations it is characterized by. Thus, this is an invaluable book for researchers, students and policy makers in the continent that are concerned with regional integration and African development.’
– Alemayehu Geda, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, University of London, UK and African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Kenya

‘Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs), which have the potential to be building blocks for continental integration and to facilitate Africa’s peaceful transformation, are still a work in progress. Employing an empirically-grounded comparative approach, this book provides an authoritative analysis of the internal and external drivers and hindrances to the development of Africa’s RECs. The book is an essential read for scholars and students of regionalism as well as for policy makers.’
– Kidane Mengisteab, Pennsylvania State University, US

‘The authors of this book have lived up to their promise of offering the reader a well-argued overview of the theoretical and policy implications of the development of African regional asymmetries. This book is a must read for senior management and staff of the AU, RECs and other regional institutions, as well as academics and professionals working on regionalism in Africa and other developing countries.’
– From the Foreword by Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister, Republic of the Sudan and Former Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Contents: Foreword by Dr Abdalla Hamdok Introduction 1. African Regionalisms: Exploring the Drivers and Actors 2. Evolution of African Regionalisms 3. Regional Socio-economic Asymmetries 4. Conflict, Democracy and Regional Integration 5. Intra-African Trade: Aspirations, Realities and Asymmetries 6. Africa and the World: Continuing or New Asymmetries? Conclusions Bibliography Index