Rhetoric Versus Reality: A Comparative Study
by J.M. Biswaro
In the last five decades, the world has witnessed dramatic changes. The Cold War has ended, and geopolitical relations among the major powers have been generally stable and tranquil. Moreover, the demise of colonialism has allowed newly independent countries to play a greater role in the international arena, and countries that used to be foes have now joined hands to develop their economies and raise the living standards of their peoples. At the same time, economic integration, both regional and global, has taken a strong hold. There is a growing realization that, for the survival of the modern world, with increasing cross-national links and externalities, global cooperation is a necessity.
The opponents of integration argue that it is merely a guise for exploiting people in developing countries, which will cause massive disruptions of lives and with few benefits to the poor. Its proponents, however, point to the significantly reduced levels of poverty in countries that have adopted economic integration, such as China, India, Vietnam, Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Tanzania, and others.
The EU experience is a successful example of integrating national economies, but how far should those promoting regional integration in Africa and other regions look to the EU as a model? Can regional and global integration proceed harmoniously? The journey towards fully-fledged regional integration in Africa and beyond could be long, rough and tough. Challenges and fears are enormous, but hopes, opportunities and prospects are immense. From this study it can be further concluded that Regional Integration and Cooperation in the 21st century is a reality and relevant.
About the Author
This book is the outcome of different researches, encounters and a series of lectures on regional integration Dr. Biswaro delivered at different universities across the globe. It represents the breadth and depth of his work in the field as he continues the work begun with his book Perspectives on Africa’s Integration and Cooperation from OAU to AU, published by Tanzania Publishing House Ltd in 2005. Dr. Biswaro also served on the Presidential Task Force when Tanzania assumed chairmanship of the AU between 2008 and 2009.