A regional economic partnership agreement between SADC and the European Union within the Cotonou framework : opportunities and challenges for the political economy of regional integration in SADC

Hengari, Alfredo Tjiurimo (2004-12)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: One of the most notable features of the relations between the European Union and SADC is the current reconfiguration of their trading architecture as encapsulated in the Cotonou Agreement. Such a process of change can be shown to have inevitably been the result of policy shifts, which are salient characteristics of a global political economy, whose ontology is embedded theoretically in neo-liberalism. Nevertheless, any process of change in the structure of global trading relations has the logical outcome of systemically imposing either challenges or opportunities, and in some cases both, on the participants of that structure. This study represents a scholarly attempt at creating a lucid and descriptive embodiment of the challenges and opportunities involved for SADC in the negotiation and implementation of a Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (REPA) with the European Union. These challenges and opportunities, obligatory within a REPA framework are theoretically pronounced in as far as they shape the political economy of regional integration in SADe. The process of negotiating such a multifaceted agreement with a sophisticated partner, calls for institutional and negotiating capacity. Undoubtedly, such capacity is beyond the membership of SADe. The point is also emphasized that the process of trade liberalization, ingrained in a REPA will create a complex and difficult interface with the current SADC initiatives underway to deepen regional integration. Tellingly, these would contradict the cautious developmental and bottom up approach taken by SADC in its drive for regional integration. Conversely, this study concedes that a REPA with the EU holds a number of novel opportunities for SADC because such a process would provide scope for the fundamental restructuring of the SADC economies. The competitive pressures through decreased levels of protection within a REPA can create an upward convergence of low performing industries in the region. These, amongst others are important aspects if the political economy of SADC is to move into a virtuous cycle of deeper integration and ultimate insertion in the global economy.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Een van die mees opvallende kenmerke van verhoudinge tussen die Europese Unie (EU) en Suider-Afrikaanse Ontwikkelingsgemeenskap (SAOG) is die huidige rekonjigurasie van handelsbetrekkinge, soos vervat in die Cotonou Ooreenkoms. Hierdie proses is die onafwendbare gevolg van beleidsveranderinge in die internasionale politieke ekonomie, met 'n. ontologie wat teoreties in neo-liberalisme gewortel is. Sodanige veranderinge in die struktuur van internasionale handelsverhoudinge. bied uitdagings sowel as geleenthede, en soms beide, aan deelnemers van sodanige struktuur. Hierdie studie is 'n akademiese poging om 'n helder en deskriptiewe blik te werp op die uitdagings en geleenthede vir die SAOG met betrekking tot die onderhandeling en implimentering van die Regionale Ekonomiese Venootskapsooreenkoms (REVO) met die EU Hierdie uitdagings en geleenthede, wat verpligtend is binne die REVO struktuur, is teoreties belangrik in soverre as wat dit die politeke ekonomie van regionale integrasie in SADC beinvloed. Die onderhandelingsproses van so 'n komplekse dokument met gesofistikeerde vennote vereis intitusionele en onderhandelingskapasiteit. Hierdie kapasiteit is nie in SAOG te vinde nie. Die punt word ook benadruk dat die proses van handelsliberalisering, wat deel uitmaak van REVO, botsend kan wees met SAOG inisiatiewe om regionale integrasie te versterk. In essensie sal dit die huiwerige ontwikkelings en 'onder na ba' benadering, wat die SAOG tans volg, weerspreek. Aan die ander kant, gee die studie toe dat 'n REVO met die EU 'n hele aantal voordele inhou, aangesien so 'n proses momentum kan voorsien vir verreikende herstrukturering van SAOG ekonomieë. Die kompeterende druk a.g. v. 'n afname in beskermingsvlakke onder die REVO, kan lei tot 'n opwaartse neiging onder tradisionele swakpresterende nywerhede in die streek. Hierdie is onder andere belangrike aspekte wat SADC in gedagte moet hou, ten einde deel te word van die deugsame kringloop van dieper integrasie, en uiteindelike deelwording van die internasionale ekonomie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49851
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