The rationale for African integration is self-evident. 54 underdeveloped countries with low populations and low GDPs translates into 54 countries with small domestic markets which renders them unsuitable for large capital investments. The fact that the African state system is a legacy of colonialism and that post-colonial borders were drawn to reflect colonial agendas cutting across cultural and socio-economic zones is another argument in favour of regional integration.
In different iterations, the objective and modalities of regional integration have intruded into continental political debates and divisions from the beginnings of the post-colonial era and independent African statehood. The Lagos Plan of Action of 1981 and the Abuja Treaty of 1991 envisaged the regional economic communities (RECs) as the building blocks of an eventual African economic community. African states have concluded multiple treaties establishing a range of RECs.
Proponents of the alternative perspectives on regionalism in Africa alert us to, is the criticality of a regionalism that is driven by context-specific policies and simultaneously the necessity to pay attention to regionalism that occurs beyond the state and is driven by more organic, bottom-up dynamics. This bottom-up driven regional integration is seldom capable of being captured by the conventional economistic measures of regional integration.
The upcoming thematic issue of the Horn of Africa Bulletin, on the ‘A Community of Peoples: Bottom up Regional Integration in the Horn of Africa’ will in general terms address the issue of integration in the Horn that is driven by bottom-up dynamics. More specifically it seeks contributions that will focus on some of the gaps and questions mentioned earlier and address key policy questions and suggest policy options. The contributions on this theme will also be useful in terms of flagging some of the key issues and facts when it comes to understanding the dynamics of regionalism in the Horn, and as such would be of interest to policy makers, practitioners and academics.
Individuals wishing to contribute articles to the upcoming issue of the HAB could address any one of the following sub-themes;
- Examples of labour migrants (including professionals) and refugees from the Horn thriving with/within their host societies in the Horn
- Shared cultural and media symbolism and outlets (music and musicians popular across several countries, media outlets such as TV channels with audiences across several countries)
- Non-state economic dynamics and networks that transcend boundaries in the IGAD region (ICBT, money transfer schemes etc.)
- Regional public goods: non-state regional initiatives in areas such as environment, health, security, governance and knowledge
- Regional public good/knowledge: (examples of exchange programs, networks in the Horn: Professional, associational, academic civil society)
- Borderlands as organic/natural spaces – or opportunities – for regional integration, for strengthened interstate relations
Contributors whose articles have been published in the Horn of Africa Bulletin will receive a modest honorarium. HAB publishes articles that do not exceed 2000 words in length. The deadline for the submission of articles is the 20th of December, 2015.
Before sending your manuscript, be sure to read our Guidelines for Contributors here.
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