The role of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in facilitating continental integration.
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The dissertation examines the role the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) can play in facilitating the political and economic convergence of the African Union (AU) member states. The developmental challenges facing Africa in spite of its wealth of human and natural resources is poignant. The genesis of this problem can be traced to the history of colonialism and the wave of independence in the continent in the late 1950s. Arguments have been put forward to suggest that one of the most viable ways of promoting Africa’s development is by developing and promoting intra-continental trade which can be possible through continental integration. The specific areas reviewed are regional stability and how intra-regional trade and investment is used to promote economic convergence. Africa's need for political and economic integration at a continental level is further sustained by the assumption that neocolonialism can be blamed for the weakness of structures in African states. Some scholars agree on the idea that regionalisation is often seen to offer a possibility to respond to the challenges of globalization. This impact nevertheless is dependent on the relation between globalisation and regional sentiment. Regional integration implies a form of interdependence among nation-states. Such interdependence leads to an establishment of regional integration arrangements between sovereign states within a geographical space. These agreements are shaped formally and there is a commitment to work together in order to realise political and socio-economic benefits. This study maintains that in order to achieve effective integration of the continent, Nigeria and South Africa as case studies, as continental giants have a key role to play to this end and as members of ECOWAS and SADC respectively. It is argued here that both the SADC and ECOWAS as sub-continental blocks have made some notable and commendable progress in developing policies for trade liberalization and economic integration, this, however, is not enough as such policies are also pertinent at a continental level. The study found that SADC and ECOWAS as regional blocks can play a role in aiding the continent to achieve a trade liberalization to achieve continental economic development.