East Africa: Regional Political Integration

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-7-67-75

Kh. Tur’inskaya (krikri75@yandex.ru),
Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 32a, Leninskii Prosp., Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation;
Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1, Spiridonovka Str., Moscow, 123001, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article explores the dynamics of regional integration in East Africa started at the beginning of the 20th century and continued in the middle of the century by Britain for its dependent territories including Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika. The text also deals with the idea of the East African Federation and the fate of the East African Community. The EAC emerged in 1967, and collapsed in 1977 because of persistent political differences, disparities, particular economic interests and newly independent states’ nationalisms. The Community was revived twenty years ago, in 1999, manifestly facing the same objective problems as its predecessor. The modern EAC incorporates Kenya, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, joined by Rwanda and Burundi in 2007 and South Sudan in 2016. The Community acts under the motto “One People, One Destiny”, though represents a unique phenomenon of a diverse competitive space regarding economic, social and political performances. The author analyses the EAC official documents’ rhetoric presenting sovereignty as an impediment to unity. Albeit the “pillars” of integration — customs union, common market, monetary union and political federation under which the EAC partner states envisage coming together to form a superstate under a single authority, single government — are in progress, a controversy exists concerning short-run prospects of regional cooperation. Sovereignty imperatives and each country’s economic strategies made East African leaders in 2017 take decisions inclining rather to confederation than to federation as a form of political design for the eventual interstate union in the near future. Meanwhile, a federation remains a long-term goal of regional elites. The issue is whether East Africa will ever have one constitution and one president, whether the political federation project will be of any success.

Keywords: East Africa, regional political integration, nationalism, sovereignty, federalism, confederalism


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For citation:
Turinskaya K. East Africa: Regional Political Integration . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 7, pp. 67-75. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-7-67-75

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