The Private Sector as a Driver of Regional Integration – Political Economy of Regional Integration in Southern Africa Series
The Political Economy of Regional Integration in Southern Africa (PERISA) project generally asks the research question: ‘Who drives or drove this particular process or outcome?’. This theme, however, seeks to reverse the question to: ‘If the private sector drives a process, what is the outcome for regional integration?’. The general consensus among development and poverty alleviation thinkers is that a robust private sector is necessary for effective and continued growth in developing countries. Public actors can stimulate some private-sector growth, but for sustained growth, which delivers on more equal income distribution, the private sector needs to grow in strength and independence equal to the public sector. Support programmes for private sector development in Southern Africa are legion and are especially supported by the EU, which is the region’s largest donor. The PERISA project recognises the role played by external actors in the promotion of private sector development and their involvement in regional initiatives.