The Political Economy of Regional Integration and Development in Africa: Rethinking Theory and Praxis
Regional integration has been on the agenda of policymakers in Africa from independence in the late 1950s to date. Post-independent nationalist leaders like Kwame Nkrumah see political integration as a necessary precondition for economic development in the continent. In the early days of postindependent Africa, various perspectives were debated on how to achieve unity in the continent. The debates around the best approach to achieving continental unity fragmented early postcolonial leaders along the lines of groups such as the Monrovia, Casablanca, and Brazzavile (Ndlovu-Gatsheni, 2013). While leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, of Ghana, and Sekou Toure, of Guinea, argued for a United States of Africa, with full complements of political and economic integration, cautious leaders such as Tafawa Balewa, of Nigeria, and Julius Nyerere, of Tanzania, advocated for a gradual approach to integration in Africa (Asante, 1995).
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