Abstract

There is a growing consensus that regionalism in Africa has been a dismal failure. In spite of the numerous attempts at regionalism, the actual record of cooperation in the region has not been salutary. Looked at in terms of success in promoting trade, the evidence reveals that trade-creating efforts have been marginal. This is pointed out in Elbadawi (1994), Fine and Yeo (1994), Kasekende and Ng’eno (1995), Lyakurwa (1996), and Aryeetey (1996). It is clear that the apparent failure of regionalism in Africa can at least in part be attributed to several factors: highly protectionist national trade policies; the fact that most countries are too similar in endowments for such collusive policy to lead to substantial trade creation; the failure to design effective arrangements in cases where benefits are skewed in favor of a few among the cooperating partners; limited infrastructural developments linking cooperating partners; and a lack of commitment to agreed-on policies at the regional level.