The Challenges of Southern African Regional Integration

This week, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders met in Angola to discuss the usual wishlist for greater regional integration — common tariffs, free trade, governance and security frameworks, etc. In a brief interview with Radio France International this week (after about minute 8:00), I highlighted some of the reasons why we’re unlikely to see substantial agreement on any of these outcomes. The short answer: leaders don’t like to give up power; borders provide opportunities to wield power by controlling flows and revenues; and in a region that is so varied — ranging from industrialized South Africa to collapsed DRC — there’s not likely to be much in the way of widely shared interests.

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