The panel investigates the level and the scope of regional cooperation and integration in sub-Saharan Africa. It is particularly interested in explaining why some regional groupings have become more integrated than others.
The study of regional cooperation and integration among nation states in the non-Western world has received a surge of interest in recent years. There are currently 16 regional organizations in sub-Saharan Africa; seven of these received official recognition by the African Union. A closer investigations of these organizations revels that the level of integration differs significantly across the continent. While some organizations limit their integration efforts to specific policy areas, others pursue a higher scope of integration. This panels invites papers on regional integration schemes across the African continent. The panel is not confined to any policy field but seeks contributions covering different policy spheres. The panel is also open to papers on regional cooperation at the transnational level, i.e. between societies rather than states. Potential research question can include (but are not limited to) the following topics: What are the main obstacles to regional integration attempts? What are the roles of external powers such as the United States, China and the EU on regional integration in Africa? Do regional powers such as Nigeria or South Africa facilitate or avoid regional integration? Are democratic regions better integrated than regions whose member states are largely autocratic? Is successful economic integration a precondition for integration in other policy areas? What is the role of African civil society in driving the regional integration agenda? How do African regions interact with regions elsewhere? Preferences will be given to empirical papers and to papers pursuing a comparative approach.