Advantages And Disadvantages Of Regional Integration

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Regional integration in Africa has been an aspiration that a majority of countries have been working towards for the last few years, most notably after their liberation from colonisation. It serves as a way to unite the countries and result in them having successful and ever increasing economies that are self-dependant and exist in harmony. One day in the future Africa will be able to be successfully regionally integrated, but as it stands as of now, Africa faces a few obstacles that are hindering the success of the integration:
1. Unrealistic goals and ambitions set by African leaders.
2. Division amongst African nations due to sovereignty
3. The remnants of the colonial powers
4. Political factors
5. The difference in the economies of all
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It is very difficult, if not impossible for a group of countries whose economies are dependent on, and who are culturally separated by their colonial powers to band together and truly be unified and independent. For example the economy of South Africa is very dependent on the western countries (for example the USA and Britain). In terms of cultural differences, many countries were separated culturally or brought together by the colonizers and these separation have managed to be carried through generations of Africans and even to this day there is still hostility towards fellow African countries and their neighbouring countries, for example the xenophobic attacks recently experienced in South Africa against Zimbabweans and Nigerians(Daneesha Pillay, Herald Live, April 22 2015) to note a few, and the hostility of Nigerian members to allow Ghanaians into Nigeria.(Oloruntoba, 2016). Another barrier introduced by colonial powers would be the difference in languages spoken amongst people in different countries, which was most apparent in the formation of ECOWAS whose neighbouring countries consisted of both Francophone and Anglophone countries (Oloruntoba, 2016). Language is the first step in communication, and without communication how can integration be expected to be achieved? This also added to the division amongst the countries (Mzukisi Qobo, June…show more content…
What we must realise is that it is going to take a lot of effort and a lot of time and commitment from all the African countries, and for the leaders to come together, make attainable goals and focus all their efforts on achieving them(Mzukisi Qobo, June 2007). Until this is done, regional integration in Africa will never be successful.

1) Samuel O Oloruntoba, 2016 “ECOWAS and Regional Integration in West Africa: From State to Emerging Private Authority.”, ’History Compass’ p295-303, published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd 2016.
2) Professor Maano Ramutsindela, EGS lecture slide 12, slide 7, 2017
3) Daneesha Pillay, “Xenophobia impacts country’s economy”, Herald Live, viewed 30 Aug. 17 from
4) Mzukisi Qobo, June 2007, “The challenges of regional integration in Africa In the context of globalisation and the prospects for a United States of Africa”, paper 145, published by Institute for Security Studies, 2007
5) Percy S Mistry, 2000, “Africa’s Record of Regional Co-Operation and Integration”, p.553-593, “African Affairs” published

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