The Potential for a Micro-Regional Integration Arrangement within the Context of COMESA: The Case of the North Gondar Zone, Ethiopia, and the Gedaref State, Sudan

Alemayehu, Eyasu (2004) The Potential for a Micro-Regional Integration Arrangement within the Context of COMESA: The Case of the North Gondar Zone, Ethiopia, and the Gedaref State, Sudan. Masters thesis, Addis Ababa University.

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Africa has adopted regionalism as a development strategy since independence. Yet, regional integration in Africa has been relatively slow and its results have only had a marginal importance. Several scholars attributed the failure to the lack of appropriate approaches that are cognizant of the diverse socioeconomic and political realities of the continent. Therefore, ‘micro regionalism’, which involves mostly sub-national entities in trans-border integration arrangements, is being experimented in its various forms in some parts of Africa depending on specific local socio-economic and political realities. Ethiopia and Sudan are among the largest COMESA member states in the Horn that enjoy long standing economical, political and socio-historical linkages. The two countries have embarked up on a comprehensive bilateral cooperation initiative since the downfall of the Dergue regime. They have concluded several bilateral agreements almost in all areas of economic, political and cultural concern. Nevertheless, the current cooperation scheme employs an approach that does not adequately involve non-state actors and subnational level governments in the cooperation framework. Besides, the existing institutional structure governing cross-border cooperation is being affected by problems that arise from failure to properly implement bilateral agreements, coordinate development activities, projects and programs. A micro regional integration model has thus been proposed involving the North Gonder Zone from Ethiopia and the Gedaref State from Sudan owing to the model’s significance to effectively exploit the existing cross-border economic potentials, alleviate the institutional and regulatory problems affecting cross-border cooperation and develop peripheral border regions. Consequently, the study has set out to explore the economic and political basis of integration among these units. The North Gondar Zone and the Gedaref state constitute among the major areas of agricultural production in Sudan and the Amhara Region of Ethiopia respectively. They are the leading producers of certain cash crop varieties, and are endowed with huge livestock resources. The cross border space is generally characterized by an economic structure which is dominated by agriculture with poorly developed industrial and services sectors. There are considerable formal and informal trade activities which are largely local in orientation. Significant complementarities are observed in labor endowments between the two areas even though labor mobility is constrained by existing immigration regulations. Cross-border investment activities are low but the potential for attracting foreign direct investment in agriculture and agro-based industries is immense. The study has indicated that the formation of a micro-region would bring tremendous economic and political benefits to the two sub-national areas as the arrangement helps to attract FDI, promote exports, facilitate the transfer of technology and skills as well as enhance local autonomy besides promoting the regionalization and globalization of the micro-region with in the context of COMESA. Therefore, the above-mentioned economic fundamentals assisted by a marked political will at the highest level could form the basis for the formation of a micro-region involving North Gondar and Gedaref. Yet, the two governments are required to take certain policy and institutional innovation measures that provide more incentives and institutional support to ensure the active participation of non-state actors in the process as well as facilitate coordination and planning of programs and projects. This is certainly vital to enhance local autonomy and ensure the sustainability of the initiative.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Regional Integration, Micro-regionalism, cross-border cooperation, COMESA
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Africana
Depositing User: Selom Ghislain
Date Deposited: 25 May 2018 12:39
Last Modified: 25 May 2018 12:39

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