Liberal intergovernmentalism and African regionalism: case of the African Union
Forbacha, Chunya Manka’a
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Regional Integration has been categorized as a development strategy. It is also perceived as a means to enhance foreign policy goals through political integration. International Relations scholars have come up with varied integration theories to explain this phenomenon. Some developing worlds in an attempt to create their own regional institutions are fashioning their organizations to the likeness of the European Union, notably the African Union. However, it is intriguing that no integration theory has been developed explaining the integration process of these other regional blocs other than the European Union. As such, other regional organizations most especially the African Union has remained understudied in the field of regional cooperation. In this thesis, I applied Liberal Intergovernmentalism which is one of the grand regional integration theories to the case of the African Union to see what extent it could account for the regional integration outcomes in this region. To do this, this study focused particularly on the Union Government debate, where member states’ preferences were examined as determinants of regional integration outcomes. Positions of three powerful states were assessed, revealing that when states’ preferences diverge preferences of powerful states prevail. As a result, the empirical analysis led considerable support to the proposition that regional integration is driven by national government and reflects states preferences. When state preferences diverge, the preferences of powerful states have superiority. When applied to the African Union, Liberal Intergovernmentalism can account for regional integration outcome to a significant extent. This shows that Liberal Intergovernmentalism, being one of the preeminent theories of European integration, has the potential to apply to other regional organizations.
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