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What drives regional economic integration? Lessons from the Maputo Development Corridor and the North-South Corridor

Discussion Paper 157

February 2014

Byiers, B., Vanheukelom, J. 2014. What drives regional economic integration? Lessons from the Maputo Development Corridor and the North-South Corridor. (ECDPM Discussion Paper 157). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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Regional integration is crucial for economic transformation in Africa. Yet despite support for this regional agenda, implementation is slow due to numerous complexities and obstacles. Narrowing the focus on transport and on two specific transport corridors in Southern Africa helps unpack these complexities. It contributes to identifying obstacles to reforms and opportunities for reforms. The strength of political and economic coalitions within states prevail over commitments made within regional institutions. “Signaling” support to regional integration does not equate implementation of these signals. Yet careful alignment of reform coalitions around cross-border projects such as corridors may contribute to trust and capacity building between countries in support of incremental and functional regional integration.

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Economic Transformation and TradeRegional IntegrationDiscussion Papers (series)European Union (EU)Maputo Development CorridorPolitical Economy of Regional Integration in Southern Africa (PERISA)AfricaSouthern Africa