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The Regional Integration of Public Goods

Political Economy of Regional Integration in Southern Africa Series

August 2013

Bertelsmann-Scott, T. 2013. The regional integration of public goods. (Political Economy of Regional Integration in Southern Africa Series). Johannesburg, Maastricht: SAIIA, ECDPM.

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The trend in monitoring and evaluating progress in regional integration has been towards measuring success or failure on an exclusive trade integration framework. Analysts use the classic Barassa model of integration, where a regional organisation moves from a preferential trade agreement, to a free trade agreement, customs union, single market, and, ultimately, to a political union. However, this approach neglects to examine other processes that are not linked to trade integration, which could be moving ahead and integrating a region, while the trade agenda could be standing still. There is a perception in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that progress towards achieving a full implementation of the free trade area has been very slow; and frustrations abound regarding the integration agenda. However, prior to the creation of SADC, its predecessor, the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) – which strove to foster independence from South Africa – was considered successful in achieving integration in areas such as water, health and power.

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Cross-cutting TopicsEconomic Transformation and TradePolitical Economy AnalysisRegional IntegrationResearch reportsResearchPolitical Economy of Regional Integration in Southern Africa (PERISA)WaterSouthern Africa

External authors

Talitha Bertelsmann-Scott

South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)