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Flexible Regional Economic Integration in Africa: Lessons and Implications for the Multilateral Trading System

Masiko, Timothy



Regional economic integration efforts in Africa have, over the years, yielded varied results. For the most part, they have not been as successful as hoped, often encountering crippling challenges. These challenges have been as varied as the blocs that have existed on the continent since the early colonial years. The main hindrance has been the considerably different abilities, intentions and political will with which regional economic integration has been approached. This, however, appears to have changed with the signing of the Treaty for the Establishment of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA is Africa’s most ambitious effort geared at establishing the Africa Common Market (ACM) – an aspiration pursued incrementally since 1980.

This book examines the relationship between flexible regional economic integration in the East African Community (EAC), through its application of variable geometry, and the establishment of AfCFTA as a continent-wide form of integration. It argues that the use of flexible integration in the EAC is at the same time affected by, and has an effect on, the pace of regional economic integration in Africa. It makes a historical, political, legal and economic analysis of the processes that led to the adoption of flexible regional integration in Africa, with particular regard to the EAC. This is done in the inescapable context of pan-Africanism, showing how regional integration efforts in Africa have been based on pan-Africanist ideals, and how an evolution of these ideals has led to an evolution in the goals of integration. It then builds on from the African experience to propose a flexible approach to multilateral trade as an alternative to the current all-or-nothing, consensus based approach to trade liberalisation.

Book Type Authored Book
Acceptance Date Aug 31, 2021
Online Publication Date Apr 21, 2022
Publication Date Apr 21, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 3, 2022
Publisher Bloomsbury Hart
Series Title Studies in International Trade and Investment Law
Series Number 26
Edition 1st
ISBN 9781509944965
Keywords Regional economic integration, African regional trade, African legal history, international treaties, international economic law
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