Political regionalisation and oil production in Africa: the case of the LAPSSET Corridor

Lund, Svein Sørlie (2015-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study analyses regionalism in Africa from a theoretical and an applied perspective. The purpose of the study is to contribute to the critical and reflectivist corpus of theories of regionalism. This field is dominated by rationalist theories that are largely preoccupied with formal inter-­‐state and market-­‐driven processes of regional integration. The rationalist theoretical hegemony in academia and politics serves to reinforce and reproduce neoliberal ideology informing global political economic practices. This study illustrates the limitations and normative assumptions of these orthodox frames and demonstrates the multidimensionality of regionalisation. The study applies a combination of three critical reflectivist theories: the World Order Approach, the New Regionalism Approach and the New Regionalisms Approach/Weave-­‐ world in an analysis of an ongoing regional oil and infrastructure project in East Africa called the Lamu Port, South Sudan and Ethiopia (LAPSSET) Corridor. The study’s primary research question investigates the extent to which oil production is driving the manifestation of (new) regionalism in East Africa, especially in terms of the LAPSSET Corridor, with secondary questions identifying the actors involved in this regionalisation, and what the theoretical framework reveals about the regionalisation in East Africa. After a review of some of the most influential theoretical contributions to the study of regions a critical reflectivist approach is suggested as an alternative to conventional rationalist theories. A broad historical overview of the East African region is elaborated with a focus on Uganda and Kenya, highlighting the social, cultural, political and economic evolution of the region before reflection on how forces of production relate to regime type in East Africa. Subsequently, a case study establishes an assessment of the historical and social construction of the LAPSSET Corridor. The objectives of the LAPSSET Corridor and its implementation mechanisms are scrutinised and viewed in comparison with its potential for inclusiveness of local participation and sustainable socio-­‐economic development. Two important conclusions can be drawn from this study. The first is that oil production is critical in the current regionalisation in East Africa. However, the nature of this regionalisation flows contrary to other regional motives. The second conclusion is that the anti-­‐reductionist and critical reflectivist approach is indeed essential to fully understand the variety of multi-­‐level factors of structures and agency that influence regionalism and regionalisation in East Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie analiseer regionalisme in Afrika vanaf ‘n teoretiese en ‘n toegepaste perspektief. Die doel van die studie is om by te dra tot die kritiese en reflektiwistiese liggaam van teorie oor regionalisme. Hierdie studieveld word gedomineer deur rasionalistiese teorieë wat meerendeels besig is met formele inter-­‐staat en markgedrewe prosesse van regionale integrasie. Die rasionele teoretiese hegemonie in akademia en politiek versterk en herproduseer sodanig neoliberale ideologie wat global politiek-­‐ekonomiese praktyk bepaal. Hierdie studie wys die beperkinge en normatiewe aannames van hierdie ortodokse beskouings uit, en ontbloot die multidimensionaliteit van regionalisering. Die studie pas ‘n mengsel van krities-­‐reflektivistiese teorieë toe: die Wêreldorde Benadering, die Nuwe Regionalisme Benadering, en die “Verweefde Wêreld” Benadering in ‘n analise van die regionale olie en infrastruktuurprojek in Oos-­‐ Afrika wat die “Lamu Port, South Sudan and Ehtiopia” (LAPSSET) Korridor genoem word. Die studie se primêre navorsingsvraag fokus op die mate waartoe olieproduksie die manifestering van (nuwe) regionalisme in Oos-­‐Afrika dryf, veral in terme van die LAPSSET Korridor, met sekondêre vrae om die akteurs te identifiseer wat betrokke is by hierdie regionalisering, en wat die teoretiese benadering blootlê aangaande die regionalisering in Oos-­‐Afrika. Na ‘n oorsig van die belangrikste teoretiese bydraes tot die studie van streke word ‘n krities-­‐reflekiwistiese benadering voorgestel as ‘n alternatief vir konvensionele rasionele teorieë. ‘n Breë historiese oorsig van die Oos-­‐Afrika streek word verskaf, met ‘n fokus op Uganda en Kenia, en dit beklemtoon die sosiale, kulturele, politieke en ekonomiese ontwikkeling van die streek voordat ‘n oordenking van hoe die magte van produksie betrekking het op regimetipe in Oos-­‐Afrika. Voorts verskaf die gevallestudie ‘n oorsig van die historiese en sosiale daarstel van die LAPSSET Korridor. Die doelwitte van die LAPSSET Korridor en sy implementeringsmeganismes word geëvalueer en beskou in vergelyking met sy potensiaal vir die insluiting van plaaslike deelname en volhoubare sosio-­‐ekonomiese ontwikkeling. Die studie maak twee belangrike gevolgtrekkings moontlik. Die eerste is dat olieproduksie krities belangrik is in die huidige regionalisering in Oos-­‐Afrika. Maar tog is die aard van die regionaliseringspatrone teenstrydig met ander streeksmotiverings. Die tweede gevolgtreking is dat die teen-­‐reduksionistiese en krities-­‐reflektiwistiese benaderings wel sentraal staan tot ‘n volle beskouing van die verskeidenheid van veelvlakkige faktore wat regionalisme en regionalisering in Oos-­‐Afrika beïnvloed.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96662
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