P135
Regionalism in Africa: beyond EU-centrism
Convenor:
Frank Mattheis (University of Pretoria)
Location:
2E08
Start time:
28 June, 2013 at 16:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

For many current African regional organisations, the EU plays a pivotal role. However, this monopolistic situation is being challenged and this panel shall deal with the various rising forms of foreign influence, exchange and alliance that affect regional organisations in Africa.

Long abstract:

For many current African regional organisations, the EU plays a pivotal role. In many cases, it exerts a considerable financial and ideational influence on its so called partners. This has lead to monopolistic situations in which the EU merely represents a benchmark and model. This discourse has been adopted on both sides and has led to an isolation of African regional organisations from counterparts in the global South. However, the EU is being challenged from various angles and this panel shall deal with this phenomenon. Regional organisations from Asia, the Arab World and Latin America are increasingly present on the global scene. They are establishing themselves as relevant institutions and reach out for potential partners, including in Africa. The EU financial crisis vis-à-vis the economic successes of various regional economic blocs in the South has reinforced this tendency. Yet, Non-Aligned or Third World logics do not seem to fir. Despite significant similarities in challenges, interests and structures, these recent connections face many constraints and setbacks. The path to formal binding agreements and coordinated actions is a bumpy one. The rationale of African organisations is changing under the influence of various external regionalisms but the quality of this change is still difficult to assess. The panel invites papers addressing the various rising forms of foreign influence, exchange and alliance that affect regional organisations in Africa. Who are these new actors, which interests do they pursue and why does their rapprochement work or not work? A non-EU-centric perspective is particularly welcome.