Workshop Report The political economy of regional integration in Southern Africa
Background There is no doubt that the EPA negotiations between the EU and Southern Africa have impacted on the regional integration agenda. This workshop will consider the political economy of regional integration initiatives in Southern Africa. It will seek to deepen understanding of the factors that influence regional integration processes, such as the activities of the private sector, governance structures and the alignment with domestic priorities. Special attention will be given to the role of partners in the region. The EU is not the only actor in Southern Africa: the United States maintains a substantial presence; China's footprint is being felt everywhere; and South Africa looms large.
Objectives of the meeting It is important to understand the key players in the regional integration processes and analyse the growing tensions over the future of African regional economic communities and their trade relations with other countries. Thus the main aim of the inception workshop is to subject Southern African integration to critical scrutiny, using trade and the relationships with partners as the key prism. The issues established at this workshop will form the core of subsequent high-level dialogues and briefing papers that will hopefully facilitate mutual understanding and identification of policy options for a more effective partnership between the Southern Africa and its key partners, including the EU.
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