With a renewed focus on Africa as the continent of growth and opportunity, what is stopping the continent from developing? What are the obstacles to integration in Africa? What are the most pressing challenges? What should a research agenda for economic integration on the African continent include? What might be the most promising approaches and methods? How can scholarly research on regional integration have an impact on the real world of politics and development?
These are just some of the questions discussed in a conversation style format at the invitation-only event hosted by the Building Bridges programme at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice. The symposium provided a unique opportunity for academics and practitioners concerned about African economic integration to share their research and frankly ask: What is holding it up?
No formal papers were presented, but participants were requested to write a brief think piece (up to 1200 words) setting out what in their view are the most pressing issues when it comes to promoting successful economic integration in Africa and how these should best be addressed.
The experts’ workshop took place over two days (Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd November 2014 ) in Cape Town, South Africa. Prof Thandika Mkandawire, Chair in African Development at the LSE delivered the keynote address at the opening reception dinner on Thursday 20th November.