Panafricanism, African Boundaries and Regional Integration
The paper argues that the adoption of the “Uti possedetis” Froze African boundaries making them to function as barriers. Though this division was denounced by African Heads of States and Governments little was done to revise these boundaries. This is understandable as this could have led to another “balkanization” of the continent. It is indicated that this division has led to the emergence of small states with small market economics competing rather than completing each other’s economy. It is argued that regional economic integration cannot take place with boundaries as obstacles. The Pan African idea of closer unity is examined. Regional economic integration as a Pan African perspective is presented as a major way out of the deep and worsening economic crises bedeviling African economics. Attempts have been made since the 1960s to create and re-create institutions for regional economic integration in the continent. However, and in spite of the encouragement and boost given to subregional integration efforts as a first step towards continental integration, not much has been achieved. It is suggested that vigorous efforts should be made to re-orientate the mindset of African leaders, scholars, and policy makers to the reality of economic integration and the near obsolescence of boundaries as barriers. The European experience of achieving continental unity through trans-boundary regionalism or Europe of the regions (Eurogios) as evidence in the European Union is instructive. It is concluded that like in Europe, potentials for regional economic integration, and African regions (or “Afrigios”) can be converted to poles of economic development and integration. This would enhance not only economic development but the standard of living of the citizens.