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Support to regional cooperation and integration in Africa-what works and why ?

Fredrik Söderbaum, Therese Brolin
ISBN : 978-91-88143-13-6

12 mai 2018

The report consists of seven chapters, which can be grouped in three parts and a conclusion.

The first part (chapter 2 and 3) intends to bridge the gap between research and policy.
Chapter 2 describes the global context and presents the conceptual tools needed to make sense of the diversity and shifting nature of regionalism in Africa and the world more generally. Key distinctions are made between old and new regionalism and between various types of regional cooperation mechanism.

Chapter 3 summarizes the findings of academic research regarding the logic of regionalism in Africa and of external support for it. It highlights various theoretical perspectives of when and why regional development cooperation “works” and not, and policymakers need to understand the merits of several schools of thought.

The second part (chapter 4) presents insights gleaned from donor evaluations. It seeks to identify what is meant in these documents by “good practice” in regional development cooperation. It concludes that good donor practice requires, among other things,
(i) a clear definition of the meaning and framing of regional development cooperation,(ii) harmonization of regional and national assistance,
(iii) that donor programmes promote national interests and gain national commitment from African governments, and
(iv) that donors consider carefully how regional support is implemented.

The third part concentrates on Swedish regional support. Chapter 5 describes the objectives and principles of the current Swedish regional strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa, its implementation and reported results. Thereafter, chapter 6 focuses on key issues for improving Swedish regional development cooperation. It is proposed that Swedish policy makers need to
(i) focus less on cooperation with and strengthening of ROs and more upon promoting long-term development,
(ii) broaden their horizons from the current limited focus on direct and indirect support to the AU and the RECs to consider multidimensional regional support that involves both state and non-state actors in flexible, development-friendly solutions,
(iii) coordinate national, regional and multilateral support within the an integrated and holistic approach, and
(iv) consider how different design features and aid modalities impact on the quality of aid.

Finally, chapter 7 summarizes the report’s major findings. It also provides a number of concrete policy recommendations that are relevant for both Swedish policy makers and other bilateral and multilateral donor agencies that are active in this field.