On January 31, 2017, the Kingdom of Morocco rejoined the African Union (AU) after a 33-year absence. The country had left the Organisation of African Unity in 1984 after the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) – to which Morocco lays claim – was acknowledged as an independent state and gained admittance to the continental body (Mohamed, 2017).
For advocates of regional integration as a path toward economic and political power for Africa, Afrobarometer’s latest survey findings suggest that many citizens still need to be convinced of the benefits of integration.
Regional integration has been a development strategy for Africa for decades. The African Economic Community’s founding treaty in 1991 provided a framework targeting full political and economic integration by 2019. Many African countries have signed on to foster political and economic cooperation.
As a result of its strong economic position on the continent, Southern Africa experiences high volumes of migration. Development and employment opportunities in the mining, manufacturing, and agricultural industries draw both skilled and unskilled labour. Southern Africa is also a springboard for regular and irregular migration to Europe and the Americas (International Organization for Migration, 2015).
At a glance:
A large majority of Swazis (68%) support free movement across borders particularly for work and trade but significantly about a third (30%) were in favour of limiting movement across borders, according to the most recent Afrobarometer survey held in Swaziland.
Les Nigériens dans leur majorité (73%) disent que les personnes vivant en Afrique de l’Ouest devraient pouvoir franchir librement les frontières internationales pour faire du commerce ou pour travailler dans d’autres pays, d’après la plus récente enquête d’Afrobaromètre.
Mais de nombreux citoyens trouvent qu’en pratique, la libre circulation pose des difficultés.
Malawians wish the future development of their country to be modelled after that of South Africa, compared to alternative models of other countries like the USA, China and Britain according to the most recent Afrobarometer survey.
In related results, Malawians are divided on whether China’s economic development assistance does a good job in meeting development needs of the country. Economic, rather than political, factors matter most in shaping Malawians’ perception of China according to the survey—which was conducted in March and April 2014.
Most Basotho, protective of their independence, are against intervention or assistance from neighbouring southern African countries to guarantee free elections and prevent human rights abuses in their country, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey.
Basotho are almost equally divided on whether the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) are helpful to Lesotho or not, survey results show.
In addition, a majority of Basotho say their country should continue to be independent of South Africa, despite the two countries’ close ties.
A majority of Kenyans see the involvement of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in Somalia as having been necessary despite terrorist problems resulting from it, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey.
However, survey results indicate that Kenyans are divided over whether the KDF should withdraw from Somalia or not.
The survey results come at a time of intense public debate regarding KDF involvement in Somalia, with concerns that Kenya’s incursion into Somalia may have contributed to increased terror attacks on Kenyan soil.
The current East African Community (EAC) was formally launched in 2001 comprising of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. In 2007, the community expanded to include Rwanda and Burundi. Within this regional framework, the grouping has achieved two primary stages of integration: a Customs Union (2005) and Common Market (2010). Nevertheless, despite apparenteconomic progress, there are inter-state agreement and national implementation challenges which have negatively impacted upon further bargaining between the EAC partner states.
When the treaty establishing the East African Community came into force on July 7, 2000, the three East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania officially set their goal as the creation of a federation of East African states. The founders of the East African Federation (EAF) expected it to be realized in four stages – a customs union , a common market , a monetary union , and eventually a political federation to be achieved in 2013. A committee on Fast Tracking East African Federation (the Wako Committee) was established to help speed up the process.
The East African Community was originally comprised of three countries: Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. These three states have a history of cooperation dating back to the early 20th century, including the Customs Union between Kenya and Uganda in 1917, which Tanzania (then Tanganyika) joined in 1927, the East Africa High Commission (1948-1961), the East African Common Services (1961-1967) and the East African Community (1967-1977). The East African Community collapsed in 1977 largely as a result of political differences among the member states.
Political leaders in the five countries of the East African Community (EAC) – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi – have made concerted efforts to promote the benefits of an East African Federation (EAF). The signing of regional integration treaties is covered extensively in national and regional media. Yet many citizens in the two largest member states are not convinced that integration will lead to promised benefits for their countries.
The East African Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organisation comprising five countries in the Great Lakes region: Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Support for freedom of movement and regional economic exchange, and for regional promotion and protection of democracy.