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Economic Integration II

Nonintervention or integration?

by Mduduzi Immanuel Maphanga - Author of African Economic Integration

 

In a previous article, I suggested a path towards economic integration aiming at sub regional common currencies. However after observing the impact that Greek debt had on the Euro, a cause for concern has arisen. What it brought to the fore is the dire need for regional and sub regional organizations to strengthen mechanisms of sanctioning governments in the case of not adhering to norms and standards agreed to i.e. good governance. In Europe’s case it was adhering to financial/economic norms, whereas in Africa’s case it is the more fundamental issues pertaining to political stability essential to guaranteeing regional security.

Given Africa’s history regarding colonialization, the preoccupation of both the OAU and AU in respecting sovereignty is understandable. However given the many proclamations towards economic integration that have been made by the continents leaders, it is clear that some sacrifices will have to be made. Chief among them would be clawing back sovereignty and ceding it to sub regional and regional bodies. This is essential in order to permit for intervention’s required to secure political stability essential to economic integration.

While regional and sub regional bodies may be less keen on holding to account governments and leaders with democratic violations on a Human Rights basis. They should care once those events threaten regional stability and member state economies. Instead of viewing sanctioning as a mainly Western habit, there should be an acknowledgement that if the current status quo of no intervention carries on, on the continent, it will struggle to reign in rogue governments. The result thereof is reluctance towards integration as countries do not have mechanisms of controlling their peer’s whose behavior may affect their countries economies.

I’m not arguing for a more readily” boots on the ground” approach, but a more robust use of sanctions against member states. If member states behavior negatively affects other member states i.e. causing economic or war refugees, sanctions must be applied. At the heart of this argument is simply the idea that in order for any basis of economic integration for shared prosperity to be laid down, the political fundamentals which ensure political stability need to be laid down as the required building blocks.

At the moment those building blocks seem not to be there. I am in no way trying to say that the African story is all gloom and doom. While the credibility of a fair amount of elections on the continent may be suspect, by large the institutional arrangements have coped well, most notably the last Kenyan elections. However there are glaring examples which leave much to be desired. Among these are the Ugandan case in East Africa and the Mozambique and Malawian case in Southern Africa. These cases caused economic refugees who could be ill afforded in their host nations.

Mark Barnes, CEO of the South African Post Office once mentioned in an interview that he believed that the idea of an African currency was a bad idea since it would only serve to weigh down stronger currencies. Citing that there was too much that was wrong about Africa for it to work. Now whether one supports this view or sees it as another Afro pessimist view, one cannot deny that current political precedence supports this view. Merely acting against those who are not part of the political club like the cases of the coups in Mauritius and the Ivory Coast is not enough if there is no action in cases mentioned in the previous paragraph.

In conclusion the AU and sub regional organizations need to review their nonintervention policies. A more consistent approach irrespective of the perpetrator is needed. How critical is economic integration to the Pan African agenda? It is time for the likes of Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana and Kenya to display the required leadership on the continent. Nonintervention is incompatible with integration.

 

Mduduzi Immanuel Maphanga

Political consultant

Managing Director:Strategic Political Solutions


Read more about Mduduzi and his view on being a futurist

 

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