New TWP CoP publication out now!
'Thinking and Working Politically on African Economic Integration', by Dr. Bruce Byiers
Dear friends and fellow travellers on all things TWP,
We are delighted to share with you a reflection note written by Bruce Byiers, Head of African Economic Integration at ECDPM, on ‘Thinking and Working Politically on African Economic Integration’. The note builds on an online event that the TWP CoP convened jointly with ECDPM as part of our Global Webinar Series in June 2022.
Given the need for regional cooperation to achieve common goals like fostering green industrialisation and post-COVID economic recovery, the ambition to promote regional economic cooperation and integration in Africa is as pressing as ever. But integrating markets and applying common rules comes with political costs and trade-offs for different groups, and regional organisations often have limited power to enforce implementation of regional agreements. As such, formal commitments to implement common regional trade rules and regulations are often not (fully) implemented, undermining the goals initially sought through cooperation.
In June 2022, the TWP CoP and ECDPM convened a webinar to discuss the experience and challenges of thinking and working politically in regional integration and cooperation in Africa. The objective was to discuss:
examples of how and when regional policies have taken account of political economy dynamics;
the challenges involved in promoting and supporting regional policies in a way that is more politically aware;
the implications for more systematically thinking and working politically at a regional level.
This note summarises the main insights that emerged from the webinar, drawing on the experiences of three regional integration efforts including TradeMark East Africa, Trade Facilitation West Africa, and the ECOWAS Commission. The note argues that it is essential to go beyond formal regional strategies and blueprints and to ‘think and work politically’ (TWP) to promote regional cooperation and integration more effectively.
Please do share this amongst your networks, and we hope you enjoy!
Alina Rocha Menocal,
Director, Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice